The US and coalition forces provide weapons to terrorist organisations, says Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan .
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday alleged that the US and its allies supply weapons to terrorists for free, while refusing to sell them to Turkey.
Washington’s support for the YPG/PKK, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK has long vexed Ankara as Washington views the YPG/PKK-led SDF as a “reliable partner” in its fight against Daesh and continues to provide it with arms and equipment in the face of strong objections by Turkey.
In an interview aired on Turkish television station NTV, he said: “So where does the threat come from? It comes primarily from strategic partners.
“We cannot buy weapons from the US with our money, but unfortunately, the US and coalition forces give these weapons, this ammunition, to terrorist organisations for free.”
The YPG is the armed wing of the PYD, what Turkey considers to be the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist group by the US, Turkey and Europe.
Erdogan called for peace with Greece, saying he does not want any more tensions, amid provocations in the Aegean and Mediterranean.
“We need peace now. Besides, our peace with you is like no other.
“Young, dynamic [Greek Prime Minister Alexis] Tsipras desires to take a new step, in my last visit I saw the [Greek] president in the same spirit,” Erdogan said.
Speaking about the early election, Erdogan said the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party would continue its tenure if elected, and would step down if voters say “enough”.
The country’s parliament on Friday passed a bill calling for early elections on June 24, with 386 lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties supporting the move. The polls had been scheduled to be held in November 2019.
Erdogan said the government was compelled to consider to hold snap polls, following a proposition by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahceli, who is set to enter an alliance with the Justice and Development Party.
“The statement of our ally [Bahceli], with whom we are realising a public alliance, compelled us to assess the situation. We have evaluated it, and therefore we have reached [a conclusion].”
Erdogan stressed there was no meeting with Bahceli prior to his call for early elections.
He said that he did not have any qualms over a request for a joint rally with MHP.
The ruling party will begin campaigning following an announcement of the election schedule by the Supreme Board of Election, he said.
Erdogan said that a public opinion survey will be conducted to determine his party candidates for the parliament.
Without giving any details, he said he will address thousands of Turkish citizens in a foreign country.
“I will address 10,000 to 11,000 Turkish citizens in a closed gym in a country I will not announce at the moment,” Erdogan said.
On the participation of newly-formed opposition Good (IYI) Party in the elections, Erdogan said it would be subject to the decision of negotiations between the Supreme Board of Election and the prosecutor’s office of the Court of Cassation.
The IYI Party was founded in 2017 under the leadership of Meral Aksener, a former senior MHP official who was expelled from the party.
In an April 2017 referendum, Turkish voters approved a bill switching Turkey from a parliamentary system to a presidential one.
Under the changes, the number of lawmakers in parliament rises to 600 from 550, presidential and parliamentary elections are to be held every five years, and presidents can retain ties to their political party. The post of the prime minister is also abolished.
Fight against FETO
Speaking about the fight against the Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO), Erdogan said the whereabouts of Adil Oksuz, who is accused of being the mastermind of the 2016 defeated coup in Turkey, are being determined.
“Some contacts have been established,” Erdogan said.
He also said so far 83 members of the organisation have been brought back to Turkey.
FETO and its US-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 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.
Erdogan said at least 16,650 YPG/PKK militants were “neutralised” in Turkey and northern Iraq over the last three years.
Turkish authorities often use the word “neutralised” in their statements to imply that the terrorists in question either surrendered or were killed or captured.