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Rudaw

Turkey

Erdogan snubs Bolton over stance on SDF

By Rudaw 8/1/2019
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin (R) speaking with US National Security adviser John Bolton following their meeting at the presidential complex in the capital Ankara, on January 8, 2019. Photo: Turkish presidential press service/AFP
Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin (R) speaking with US National Security adviser John Bolton following their meeting at the presidential complex in the capital Ankara, on January 8, 2019. Photo: Turkish presidential press service/AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – An angry Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan snubbed US National Security Advisor John Bolton who was in Turkey on Tuesday to discuss the US withdrawal from Syria. 

Before his visit, Bolton had outlined conditions for American troops to leave northern Syria – the defeat of ISIS and assurances from Turkey that they will not attack Kurdish forces in Syria.

“Claims that Turkey targets Kurds in Syria are dishonourable, ugly, vulgar, and defaming,” Erdogan told lawmakers from his Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the parliament after Bolton’s visit. 

The president declined to meet with Bolton, saying that if such a meeting was really “necessary,” then he would have made time in his “heavy schedule,” Anadolu Agency reported. He added that he can always pick up the phone to talk with US President Donald Trump at any time. 

Bolton, joined by James Jeffrey, special envoy for Syria and the coalition, and Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, met with Erdogan’s top aide and spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin. 

Trump made the snap decision to leave Syria after a phone call with Erdogan and contrary to the opinions of his state and defense departments. 

Erdogan said he and Trump made an agreement that would see Turkey take over the war against ISIS in northern Syria as the Americans withdraw. He complained that “different voices” from Trump’s administration have tried to confuse the situation. 

“Bolton has made a serious mistake and whoever thinks like this has also made a mistake. It is not possible for us to make compromises on this point,” he said, Hurriyet Daily News reported. 

Erdogan said Turkey is continuing its preparations for a military operation in northern Syria – vowing to destroy ISIS and “other terrorist organizations,” saying that the operation will begin “very soon.”

Multiple analysts have concluded that Turkey would not be able to militarily or ideologically defeat ISIS. 

Ankara considers the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) branches of the PKK. It claims that its military operations target these “terror” groups and not the Kurdish population as a whole. 

Kurds, however, accuse Turkey of deliberately destroying cultural symbols and trying to impose demographic change. They point to Turkey’s operation in Afrin where, for example, Kurdish citizens have been persecuted and Kurdish place names have been removed. 

“Why do you raise your flags and Turkish pictures in our Kurdish lands?” asked YPG commander Polat Can. 

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pre-Boomer Marine brat | 8/1/2019
"He added that he can always pick up the phone to talk with US President Donald Trump at any time." ... If that statement is accurate, exactly what Erdogan said, then the implications are utterly staggering ... The next question would then be, what does Trump think about it?
Kurd | 8/1/2019
A message to the turks....if you believe PYD and YPG are terrorists then you might as well label all kurds terrorists because we all share their views on a free and independent Kurdistan! Biji Kurd w Kurdistan!
Mohamedzzz | 8/1/2019
It is true, Turkey's targeting Kurds in Syria are dishonourable, ugly, vulgar, and demeaning.
German | 8/1/2019
it is easier for an Elephant to fly , than for the terrorist state of Turkey to be just towards the Kurds ...
97peaches97 | 8/1/2019
Polcan Can is a PKK member and a terrorist. There never was a Kurdistan, the word Ostan is persian and means province. The most kurdish is tribals but PKK want to destroy it, so how legitim is PKK when it comes to the kurdish question? There is no kurdish question, kurds destroyed middleeast and its the kurds fault what we have today. We have to bow to westernerns because of kurdish traitors. Kurds are and will always be lapdogs that will be used, how many times did Israel say they would support you? And did they do so? Forget about Kurdistan, there never was and never will be. I am kurd from Iran and kurds dislike Iran for no reason, remember that azeri or turks will fool you like they massacred the armenians.

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