By Mumin Altas
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim has said Turkish-led Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in August to eliminate the Daesh presence in northern Syria, had come to an end.
In an interview with Turkish private broadcaster NTV, Binali Yildirim said any other future military operations would be named differently.
"If something threatening our security happens in the future, regarding Daesh or something else, then this will be a new operation. Operation Euphrates Shield has ended, and any other future operations will be named differently."
Yildirim also addressed the fact that the U.S. Embassy in Ankara confirmed that less than a week after the July 15 coup attempt, the U.S. consulate in Istanbul had called one of the chief suspects.
“‘We called him to cancel his visa. He was one of the suspects of the July 15, so we showed sensitivity. We tried to be responsible towards the Turkish Republic and we immediately canceled his visa.' This is the official explanation, if you believe,” Yildirim said, stressing that Turkey expected a more satisfying answer.
The U.S. statement comes after judicial officials at the Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor’s Office, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, said earlier Wednesday that Adil Oksuz, who remains on the run, was contacted at 10.22 a.m. local time (0722GMT) on July 21 by the U.S.-registered number.
Concerning the decision by an Iraqi provincial assembly to raise a Kurdish flag alongside the Iraqi national flag at public buildings in Kirkuk, Yildirim said Turkey also opposed the decision.
On Tuesday, 26 Kurdish members of Kirkuk’s provincial assembly voted in favor of raising the Kurdish flag alongside Iraq’s national flag outside the city’s public buildings and institutions.
Arab and Turkmen members of the provincial assembly were conspicuously absent from the meeting.
"This issue has two sides. On one side, we have to evaluate it in terms of Iraq. It [Kirkuk] is within Iraq’s territories and not included in the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government. So it is a kind of imposition. I mean, it [KRG] imposed that ‘This is our territory’,” Yildirim said.
Asked about a possible Raqqah operation against the Daesh terrorist group and the stance of the new U.S. administration, Yildirim said Turkey had not been officially informed about the upcoming plans yet.
“However,” Yildirim said, “we had the impression from the recent developments that they [Trump Administration] have been following the previous administration.”
Yildirim said the issue would be brought up during the meeting with the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who will pay his first visit after he took his office.
Yildirim said it was not appropriate for an ally of Turkey, the U.S., to provide weapons to terrorist organizations.
"This is something that threatens our internal and external security. And it is not ethical. It is not appropriate for the United States to work with a terrorist organization and not appropriate for an ally of Turkey,” Yildirim said.
The PYD is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK -- considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the U.S. and EU -- whereas YPG is the armed wing of PYD, and considered by the U.S. a "reliable partner" in the region in the fight against Daesh.