Erdoğan bashes NATO for not siding with Turkey in Syria
“We asked them to fight against terrorist organizations. But they [the US] preferred to be with them [terrorist organizations]. They sent 5,000 truckloads of weapons there [to Syrian Kurdish militant groups]. They sent 2,000 cargo ships of weapons and ammunition. Are we not are friends? Are we not together in NATO?” Erdoğan said during a party meeting in Sakarya province, strongly criticizing American support for the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).
“I repeat: Oh NATO! When are you going to side with us? Are we not members of NATO? You called on us for Afghanistan, we came. You called on us for Somalia, the Balkans, we came. Why? Because we are a NATO member. We fulfilled our promise, but you have not. This is Turkey. This is the Turkish nation,” he added.
In a speech in Bolu province on Sunday, Erdoğan said Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces have so far taken control of 950 square kilometers (590 square miles) in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region.
“In the Afrin region, the owners of the [liberated] lands have started to come back,” Erdoğan said, adding that a total of 3,300 Kurdish militants have been “neutralized” in Afrin since the start of Operation Olive Branch in Syria.
The Turkish military and FSA fighters on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch in the Afrin region of Syria against the PYD, which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkey with Free Syrian Army forces took control of the Jarablus and Al Bab areas in northern Syria during an operation against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants between August 2016 and March 2017.
Erdoğan slams NATO for lack of support in Syria
“Hey NATO, where are you?” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said at a public rally in the southern province of Mersin, accusing the military alliance of “double standards.”
Erdoğan said NATO member Turkey sent troops to conflict zones when requested but did not receive support in return.
Turkey launched a military operation against the People’s Protection Units (YPG) on Jan. 20 to clear them from Afrin in northwestern Syria.
The country considers the YPG a terror organization, but its NATO ally, the United States, backs the fighters to combat the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Erdoğan urged NATO to come to Turkey’s aid, saying its borders are “under threat right now.”
‘850 square km now under control in Afrin’
Turkish and Free Syrian Army forces have so far seized control of 850 square kilometers during the operation in Afrin, Erdoğan said.
“Up to now 850 square kilometers have been taken under our control. The target is to bring 2,000 square kilometers under our control,” he said.
“Our concern isn’t the land, our concern is clearing terrorists from there. Wherever there are terrorists, we’ll be there,” he added, referring to the YPG.
Erdoğan said Turkey will help Afrin to rebuild and repair, including its electricity, water, education, and healthcare systems, “just like it did in Jarablus, Al-rai, Azaz and Al-Bab,” after clearing these Syrian cities of ISIL militants during Turkey’s previous Euphrates Shield Operation.
The Euphrates Shield Operation began in August in 2016 and ended in March 2017, clearing towns on the Turkish border of both YPG and ISIL militants.
“Then we will also clear Manbij, Ayn al-Arab, Tal Abyad, Resulayn and Kamisli of terrorists,” Erdoğan said, naming other Syria cities near Turkey’s borders. Source
NATO leaves Turkey alone in fight against terrorism'