Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that his country will “soon” take steps to carry out a military operation in Syria.
During his speech at the Turkish ambassadors’ forum on Tuesday, Erdogan said that, “our measures with regards to the eastern Euphrates will enter a different stage soon,” adding that “will use force to defend our national interests if necessary.”
Erdogan’s statements came hours after statements from the US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, who told journalists in a statement that any Turkish military operation in Syria would be “unacceptable.”
Esper said that his country would prevent any unilateral Turkish incursion into Syrian territory, saying that Washington would continue dialogue with Ankara with regards to setting up a safe zone in northern Syria.
Erdogan said, “we will wait for the United States, which is our ally in NATO and our strategic partner, to take a measure appropriate for a genuine ally with regards to Syria.”
He added that, “Turkey cannot feel safe as long as the YPG/PKK organization, which is developing like a cancer on our southern border with heavy weapons sent by our allies, has not been eliminated.”
The severity of the statements between the Turks and Americans increased over the last few days after the failure of talks aiming to set up a safe zone in northern Syria that would be free of Kurdish YPG fighters and heavy weapons.
The disputes between the two are still ongoing with regards to the depth of the safe zone and the body that will administer it, as well as the question of Kurdish fighters backed by the United States.
The Turkish Defense Ministry announced that it had begun the second round of talks with American and Turkish military officials in Ankara with regards to the safe zone, which Ankara wants to set up along the southern border to keep out the YPG, which it labels a terrorist group.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.