Turkey is concerned about currency manipulation. File photo: AP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that Western powers are after Syria’s oil fields and threatened to ruin “this game” by conducting operations in Manbij and Hasaka.
“Those who are planning in Syria are planning on oil, and we will spoil this game. By supporting Syria, and making this country stay on its feet again, we will keep surprising them,” said Erdogan, referring to the US, France and the UK, while addressing AKP’s provincial congress in Haltepe.
The three allied militaries struck three facilities in Syria on Friday morning. They claim the facilities were used to produce chemical weapons like those in an alleged attack on April 7 that killed more than 40 people. The Assad regime denies it was responsible and blames Syrian opposition activists and first responders for fabricating the news.
Turkey, a strategic NATO ally with the three countries, had welcomed the strikes.
“Turkey considers the operation carried out early this morning by the United States, United Kingdom and France to be an appropriate response to the chemical attack which caused the deaths of many civilians in Douma on 7 April,” stated Turkey’s foreign ministry.
"We welcome this operation which has eased humanity’s conscience in the face of the attack in Douma, largely suspected to have been carried out by the regime," it added.
Erdogan also accused financial sector workers in Turkey of “declaring exchange war on us” and threatened to expel them, adding that what they are doing is an act of “betrayal.”
“Hey, those who are in the finance sector do not threaten us with exchange, this and that! You will not have the right to live this country. Look, I am saying this very clearly … such an intervention is a betrayal to this country,” said Erdogan in and AKP event in Uskudar province.
Turkish lira has seen a downturn against the US dollar in the past few months. It began its nearly three-month assault on the Kurdish canton of Afrin on January 20.
As of December 31, 3.84 Turkish liras were worth $1. That peaked at 4.11 liras per dollar earlier this month, according to Forex, the global decentralized foreign-exchange market.
Under US President Donald Trump, the US has used economic sanctions in against Turkish, Syrian, and Iraqi individuals and entities.
Immediately after assuming office in January 2017, Trump told the CIA “to the victor belong the spoils.” He said he made the remarks in the context of a counterterrorism strategy to defeat ISIS “because that's where they made their money in the first place.”
“So we should have kept the oil,” he said. “But, OK, maybe you'll have another chance.”
Trump has also signed recent executive orders to sanction entities associated with Russian oil giant Gazprom and business people associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran.
The US-led international anti-ISIS coalition has partnered with the Syrian Democratic Forces to remove ISIS from places like Hasaka and Manbij. The SDF is primarily comprised of Kurdish YPG/YPJ forces which Ankara considers to be the Syrian extension of the PKK. Both groups deny the claims.
The coalition has worked to ally many SDF members with locals in northern Syrian cities to form military and civil councils. The coalition says these councils reflect the local demographics.