By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
LONDON (AA) – In its current operation, Turkey is “determined to clear” northern Syria of terrorists "no matter what happens or who says what,” Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay said on Tuesday.
“You cannot negotiate and you cannot talk to a terrorist organization, this is unrealistic,” Oktay told British news channel Sky News.
“There is a state fighting against a terrorist organization, fighting against terrorism, and you expect us to sit down and talk with terrorists?” he said, referring to Operation Peace Spring, which Turkey launched last week.
Asked about the YPG/PKK’s former alliance with the U.S. and Britain, Oktay called it “a pity if the British or any other country around the world [would] ally with the terrorists.”
“So we hope that they do have a misunderstanding of who they [YPG/PKK] are, otherwise we don’t want to consider that any country who allies with us are the allies of the terrorists,” he said.
Rebuffing threats of sanctions over Operation Peace Spring, Oktay said no sanctions can pose a threat bigger than the terrorist threat to Turkey coming from the other side of the Syrian border.
“As Turkey, we are decisive and very determined to clear the area from the terrorists no matter what happens, no matter who says what,” he added.
Turkey last Wednesday launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear northern Syria east of the Euphrates River of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union -- has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.