– Turkey’s defense minister said Thursday the U.S. should abide by its words to take the PKK/PYD terrorist organization out of northern Syria’s Manbij city.
Responding to journalists’ questions after a second session of meetings among NATO defense ministers, Fikri Isik said he hoped the U.S. would “keep their words”.
“We should consider not only words but also actions after that time. … Otherwise, Turkey will not hesitate to do whatever is necessary,” he added.
Turkish leaders have said Ankara will drive PKK/PYD elements from Manbij, a predominantly Arab city liberated from Daesh earlier this summer.
“We want that the promises on Manbij should be kept. Turkey will never allow the elements which have not existed there before to create a territorial area in Manbij,” said Isik.
He also warned the U.S. about a planned operation to retake Raqqah — Daesh’s so-called “capital” — over suggestions the PKK/PYD would join the effort: “We always said it should not occur.”
Isik said Turkey had the ability to create an alternative to take the PKK/PYD out of the operation.
“Sufficient power could be created within the scope of Free Syrian Army [for Raqqa]. We want the U.S. to change its attitude in this way,” he said, adding Turkey would be “insistent” on this point.
The PKK and its Syrian offshoot the PYD are both listed as terrorist groups by Turkey although the U.S. and EU only view the PKK as a terrorist organization.