By Ali Kemal Akan and Selma Kasap
ANKARA (AA) - Deputy Premier Bekir Bozdag on Thursday said the U.S. should stop trying to change Turkey’s stance on the PYD/YPG terror group in Syria.
In remarks made to Turkish broadcaster TV24, Bozdag shed light on issues expected to be discussed during the visit of the U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Turkey.
“The U.S. should stop trying to convince us to see another reality. We do not need to be convinced on this issue. Because the reality is clear,” he said.
Tillerson is in Turkey to discuss regional issues following his stops in Egypt, Kuwait and Jordan.
The deputy premier said if the U.S. respected Turkey’s views on the terror group, it would rectify its mistakes and stop repeating them.
He termed the U.S. support for PYD/PKK terror group as “the biggest mistake” and urged Turkey’s NATO ally to cut off its support to the terror group and take back arms that it supplied to them.
About the possibility of Turkish soldiers and the U.S. troops coming face-to-face in Syria’s Manbij, he said he would not assume that any such encounter would take place.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as to protect Syrians from 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 resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.
The military also said only terror targets were being destroyed and the "utmost care and sensitivity" were being used to not harm civilians.