Turkey, Politics

Erdogan urges cooperation with US to 'finish off Daesh'

Turkish president slams US for continued assistance to PYD, PKK terror groups in fight against Daesh

Canberk Yüksel   | 23.09.2016
Erdogan urges cooperation with US to 'finish off Daesh' Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during his meeting with representatives of Turkish Ngo's organised by Turkish-American Cultural Society, in New York, United States on September 22, 2016. ( Volkan Furuncu - Anadolu Agency )

New York

NEW YORK 

The U.S.-led coalition needs to have a better concerted effort to “finish off Daesh”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday.

“We are calling for a no-fly zone, and they are having none of it. We are calling for steps for a land operation, and they are dragging their feet,” Erdogan said.

“To be successful, the cooperation between Turkey and the United States is crucial,” he said.

“I told them many, many times: ‘Let’s join forces and we can finish off this Daesh,’” he said. “It would be looking for a place to hide.”

Turkey launched a military operation, along with moderate opposition forces, late last month that has liberated Jarabulus and al-Rai in northern Syria.

Erdogan said the goal is to declare a safe zone that stretches 4,000-5,000 square kilometers (2,385-3,100 square miles). Ankara would then build settlements in the safe zone for Syrian refugees in Turkey to return to their country, or for those in Syria who seek to flee the ongoing bloodshed.

The Turkish president criticized the U.S. for choosing to cooperate with the PYD and YPG -- groups Ankara considers terrorist organizations and extensions of the terrorist PKK organization in Turkey.

“You can’t finish off Daesh with PYD/YPG, because they themselves are terrorists,” he said. “Can there be good and bad terrorists? All of them are terrorists and all of them are bad,” he added.

Erdogan said two aircraft belonging to the U.S. army last week airdropped weapons to the PYD.

“I said to Mr. [U.S. Vice President Joe] Biden yesterday: ‘are you aware of this?’ He said, ‘No.’ I said, ‘Well, I am.’”

A similar scenario played out previously in which weapons carried on three aircraft were airdropped, and “half of it went to Daesh and half of it to PYD,” according to Erdogan.

“This is the painful situation that’s unfolding at the moment. Therefore, we need to join forces with the U.S. in a healthy manner and overcome this trouble in this region,” he said.

Erdogan said he hoped the U.S. presidential election slated for Nov. 8 “would be conducive towards that”.

The Turkish president saved some of his harshest criticism for Washington’s response to Turkey’s demands regarding the July 15 coup attempt.

Fetullah Gulen, the mastermind of the bloody coup mounted by Fetullah Terrorist Organization members within the Turkish military, should have at least been detained, if not immediately extradited, as per bilateral agreements, Erdogan said.

Ankara has sent 85 boxes of files regarding the culpability of Gulen and his followers with the coup, but “we still have not been able to explain this to our American friends”, he said.

Erdogan was furious about a U.S. congressional committee that invited a FETO member to speak about the defeated coup.

“How in the world can you do something like this? They have lost their political will to a point where they are willing to listen to a coup plotter rather than a coup victim about the coup,” he said.

“Can you possibly imagine listening to terrorists about a night when a coup was targeted at democracy?” he said.

“We expect sincerity and effort from the American administration”, he added.

Erdogan also called on representatives of Turkish NGOs he was addressing to “tell the truth everywhere, in every capacity.

“We need to convince the American public,” he said.

Erdogan, speaking at another NGO meeting later in the day, said the FETO network is trying to open a foothold for itself in the U.S. by “indirectly transferring the money it got from American [governmental] budget back to the American politics.

“We are sure that American authorities are aware about how this crooked system works,” Erdogan added.

FETO is controlling more than 100 charter schools in the U.S., which earns the organization millions of dollars from the American government.

Several media outlets including Anadolu Agency have revealed FETO-linked people and organizations’ donations to American lawmakers over the recent years.

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