ISTANBUL (Reuters) – President Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey's agreement with the United States on establishing a "safe zone" in northeastern Syria is a correct step and that Ankara will not delay Washington's plan, CNN Turk said Thursday.
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pays tribute to the remains of the victims of the genocide at Srebrenica in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, on 9 July 2019. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / File photo
Ankara's last revealed weekend, when a joint operations center for the planned zone on Syria's northeastern border is now fully operational.
Washington and Ankara were battling for plans for the region where the Kurdish YPG militia formed the bulk of US-backed forces against the Islamic State. Turkey regards the YPG as a terrorist group.
"The agreement we have made with the US is a real step towards creating a safe zone and removing the YPG from the eastern Euphrates," Erdogan told reporters on his way back from a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin In Moscow.
Erdogan said that Turkey would accept no delays in the plan and compared it to a previous agreement with Washington to remove YPG fighters from the northern Syrian city of Manbij, who accused Ankara of delaying it.
"We will never tolerate a delay, as we saw in Manbij. The process needs to move quickly, "CNN Turk quoted Erdogan on Thursday.
The security zone was proposed last year by US President Donald Trump, who had announced plans to withdraw US Special Forces from northern Syria, but later abrogated the plan to protect Kurdish allies in Washington.
Erdogan said that Turkish ground forces would "very soon" invade the planned security zone this week after warning that Turkey would independently launch a cross-border offensive to remove the YPG militia from its borders if necessary ,
"All the employees, the armored carriers, are all at the border. That is, we are always able to do anything, "Erdogan was quoted as saying.
DEFENSE COOPERATION WITH RUSSIA
On Tuesday, an official from an alliance led by the YPG said that under agreements between the US and Turkey, the YPG is withdrawing armed forces and heavy weapons from a strip along the Syrian border with Turkey will.
The YPG has withdrawn from border positions Tal Abyad and Ras al-Ain in recent days, proving that it is serious about the ongoing talks, Kurdish-led authorities in northern and eastern Syria said.
US. The support of the YPG has infuriated Turkey, which regards the militia as a terrorist organization associated with Kurdish insurgents within the country.
The two countries are also debating the purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense systems by Turkey, which led Washington to remove Turkey from its F-35 jet production program, which Turkey also wanted to buy.
Erdogan visited with Putin during his visit to Moscow an aviation fair. When asked if the Russian stealth fighter Sukhoi Su-57 and the Russian Su-35 could be an alternative to the F-35, Erdogan said, "Why not? We did not come here for nothing. "
The RIA news agency quoted a Russian official on Wednesday that the two countries are discussing the possibility of delivering the two aircraft to Turkey.
Reporting by Daren Butler; Edited by Sandra Maler and Sonya Hepinstall