By Ahmet Sait Akcay
ANKARA (AA) - The U.S. should stop arming PYD/PKK terrorists to avoid any confrontation with Turkey, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Thursday.
Speaking with Turkish news channel A Haber, Bozdag said: "If the U.S. administration does not want to confront Turkey, it [US] doesn't want that, neither does Turkey, the way [forward] is clear: cut off support to terrorists."
If the U.S. wants to be in solidarity with Turkey, the minister said it should stop arming PYD/PKK terrorists and "recollect the arms it gave them".
He added that the PYD/PKK “should be told to retreat to the eastern side of Euphrates and stop fighting with Turkey”.
About the ongoing Afrin operation, he said: “The Operation Olive Branch will continue till the last terrorist has been eliminated and all terror groups are eradicated.”
Referring to the U.S. proposal of establishing a “safe zone”, he said safe zone was not the issue or whether the Afrin operation should be stopped.
“This should be addressed separately.”
On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said his U.S. counterpart proposed a 30-kilometer (approx. 19 miles) safe zone in Syria's northwestern Afrin region.
Turkey on Saturday launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists.
The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council’s decisions, self-defense rights under the UN charter and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military has also said that only terrorist targets are being destroyed and all feasible precautions had been taken to avoid any damage inflicted on civilians.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012 when the Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.
The deputy premier also said no one could question Turkey’s sincerity in the fight against Daesh terror group.