Turkey

Turkish VP: US should act within spirit of alliance

Fuat Oktay calls on US to respect Turkey's fight against terrorism

Emin Avundukluoğlu   | 11.12.2018
Turkish VP: US should act within spirit of alliance

By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu

ANKARA

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay called on the U.S. Monday to act in accordance with the spirit of its alliance and partnership with Turkey. 

"As Turkey, our expectation from the U.S. is for it to act according to the spirit of the alliance in every single area," Oktay said during his budget speech. 

"We also want to see an America that respects Turkey's fight against terrorist organizations," he said. 

Turkey has long sought the extradition of Fetullah Gulen, the leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), from the U.S. 

FETO orchestrated the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016 which left 251 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured. 

Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

Oktay also called on the U.S. to stop supporting Israel's "lawless and unethical moves on the Palestine and Jerusalem issues" in order to maintain its position as a "reliable ally". 

Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump triggered an international outcry by announcing plans to move Washington’s embassy in Israel to Jerusalem and recognize the city as Israel’s capital. The relocated embassy was opened in May.

Since the move, the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah has rejected any mediating role by the U.S. in the moribund Middle East peace process. 

International law continues to view East Jerusalem, along with the entire West Bank, as "occupied territory" and considers all Jewish settlement construction there to be illegal. 

Citing Turkey’s regional politics, the vice president underscored that Turkey would “by no means” tolerate any measures by Greece or southern Cyprus against Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. 

He added that Ankara would not make "the slightest" compromise regarding its hydrocarbon interests around Cyprus, the Aegean Sea or the Eastern Mediterranean.

Cyprus was divided into a Turkish Cypriot state in the north and a Greek Cypriot administration in the south after a 1974 military coup was followed by violence against the island’s Turks and Turkey’s intervention as a guarantor power. 

The island’s status remains unresolved in spite of a series of negotiations over the years. 

Oktay praised the establishment of a demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib province under a Turkish-Russian accord reached on Sept. 17 in the Russian city of Sochi which was supported by Iran, saying it had averted a “very large humanitarian crisis” there. 

The vice president stressed that Turkey would now aim to split the “terror corridor” along its southern border east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria. 

"The dissolution of the terror corridor east of the Euphrates is now on our agenda," he said. 

Stressing that Ankara was using all diplomatic means to resolve the issue, Oktay added that Turkey is fully prepared for any operation in the area. 

A possible mission east of the Euphrates, which Turkey’s leadership has been suggesting for months, would follow two successful cross-border Turkish operations into Syria -- Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch – which were both meant to eradicate the presence of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists near Turkey’s borders. 

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch. 

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