UPDATE - Turkey’s MHP demands operation in eastern Euphrates

UPDATE - Turkey’s MHP demands operation in eastern Euphrates

Opposition Nationalist Movement Party’s leader says eastern side of Euphrates should no longer pose a threat to Turkey

UPDATE WITH BAHCELI'S REMARKS ON TRUMP

By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu

ANKARA (AA) - Turkish opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader on Tuesday demanded an operation against YPG/PKK terrorists in eastern side of Euphrates.

"The eastern side of Euphrates should no longer pose a threat [to Turkey]," Devlet Bahceli told his party's parliamentary group on Tuesday.

Bahceli recalled Turkey's cross-border operations in Syria -- Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch.

Operation Euphrates Shield, which began in August 2016 and ended in March 2017, was aimed at eliminating the terrorist threat along the Turkish border with the use of the Free Syrian Army, backed by Turkish artillery and air cover.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists from northwestern Syria's Afrin region. On March 18, Turkish troops and Free Syrian Army members liberated the town of Afrin.

"A more [powerful] operation should be carried out in the eastern side of Euphrates [against YPG/PKK]," said Bahceli.

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has taken 40,000 lives, including many women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.

Bahceli said that Turkey was capable to conduct an operation in the eastern side of Euphrates. "This is the expectation of Turkish nation," he added.

In June, the Turkish and U.S. forces began patrols in Syria's Manbij in line with a deal focusing on the withdrawal of the PKK-affiliated YPG terror group from the northern Syrian city in order to stabilize the region.

In his speech, the MHP leader also criticized U.S. President Donald Trump.

Bahceli said that "Turkey-US relations could not remain steady" under Trump's administration.

"You cannot trust and even honor a president of a country who equates Turkey's value with a pastor," said Bahceli.

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