Turkey's Erdogan rejects French offer of talks with SDF

Michele Moreno
April 2, 2018

But Macron's office on Friday said Paris was not planning any new military operation on the ground in northern Syria outside the worldwide coalition against the Islamic State militant group.

Since it erupted in 2011, Syria's conflict had drawn in myriad foreign forces, including Russia's air force and Iranian-backed militias on Assad's behalf, and Turkey in support of rebels.

Erdogan stressed his resolve to continue and expand the operation.

As a Turkish court rejected an objection submitted by the lawyers of the two Greek soldiers now in Edirne Prison against a decision to extend their detention, the rancorous verbal standoff between the two sides continued Thursday, with Greek Defense Minister Panos Kammenos responding to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's recent "Greater Turkey" comments, saying Ankara should not forget that the Ottoman Empire was defeated in the Greek War of Independence. The official made the statement at the time when Erdogan was discussing the truce in Syria with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, while there were two weeks left before Erdogan's meeting with Donald Trump. "We hope France does not take such an irrational step".

After Macron's meeting Thursday with members of the Syrian Democratic Forces, Kurdish figures claimed that the French leader had promised to send troops to Manbij near Syria's border with Turkey.

Earlier this month Turkey ousted Kurdish fighters from the Syrian-Kurdish city of Afrin located in Syria.

Turkey's Erdogan rejects French offer of talks with SDF

"Daesh" is another name for the Islamic State (ISIS), which the Kurds fought valiantly against on the front lines of both Syria and Iraq.

President Tayyip Erdogan's spokesman said on Friday Turkey expected its allies to take a clear stance against terrorism instead of taking steps that amount to legitimizing "terror structures".

"Do not engage in things beyond you, we do not need a mediator", he said, responding to the French offer in remarks to members of his ruling AK Party in Ankara.

The spokesperson noted that Turkey's position on the attitude towards terrorists in Syria is very clear. Kurdish officials accuse Turkey and its allies of carrying out acts of violence in the town to sow instability, including several recent smaller bombings, protests and an attempted assassination attempt on a Kurdish official - although there is also the possibility Islamic State group militants are behind the violence. "Since when has Turkey had an issue of sitting down at the table with terror organisation?"

Turkish forces drove the YPG from the northwestern Syrian town of Afrin almost two weeks ago and Erdogan says Ankara is preparing to extend operations along hundreds of miles of border, including areas where the American forces are deployed. "I was forced to point it out to him, even if the tone was a bit raised", he said, without giving details.

Other reports by Insurance News

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