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Erdoğan daily to Trump envoy: Shameless blackmailer

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The pro-government Yeni Şafak daily has called Brett McGurk, US President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL “a shameless blackmailer” over recent comments about the Syrian city of İdlib, which is controlled by Syrian opposition forces.

“The US, which armed the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and sent them 800 trucks of weapons last month, will open another front against the Turkish Armed Forces in Idlib. The Pentagon plans to occupy Idlib, the last haven of the Syrian opposition, with the excuse of al-Qaeda, and send groups of professional killers [to attack] Turkish soldiers and the Free Syrian Army,” said Yeni Şafak in its lead story on Sunday.

“… And al-Qaeda has taken full advantage of it. And Idlib now is a huge problem. It’s an al-Qaeda safe haven right on the border of Turkey. So that’s something obviously we will be in very close discussions with the Turks on, and I think as we did in some ISIS areas in sealing the border making sure nobody can cross is something we might have to think about in Idlib province,” said McGurk during a speech at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, underlining that it was a result of Turkey’s unchecked transfer of tens of thousands of tons of weapons and allowing foreign fighters to get into Syria.

“Because it’s a huge problem. It’s a different problem than ISIS, but it’s a big problem, and something we have to very much focus on as a counterterrorism objective,” added McGurk.

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