Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Sunday lambasted NATO for not giving support to Turkey, accusing the US of helping terrorist organizations, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
“We asked them to fight against terrorist organizations. But they [the US] preferred to be with them [terrorist organizations]. They sent 5,000 truckloads of weapons there [to Syrian Kurdish militant groups]. They sent 2,000 cargo ships of weapons and ammunition. Are we not are friends? Are we not together in NATO?” Erdoğan said during a party meeting in Sakarya province, strongly criticizing American support for the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).
“I repeat: Oh NATO! When are you going to side with us? Are we not members of NATO? You called on us for Afghanistan, we came. You called on us for Somalia, the Balkans, we came. Why? Because we are a NATO member. We fulfilled our promise, but you have not. This is Turkey. This is the Turkish nation,” he added.
In a speech in Bolu province on Sunday, Erdoğan said Turkish military and Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces have so far taken control of 950 square kilometers (590 square miles) in Syria’s northwestern Afrin region.
“In the Afrin region, the owners of the [liberated] lands have started to come back,” Erdoğan said, adding that a total of 3,300 Kurdish militants have been “neutralized” in Afrin since the start of Operation Olive Branch in Syria.
The Turkish military and FSA fighters on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch in the Afrin region of Syria against the PYD, which Turkey sees as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Turkey with Free Syrian Army forces took control of the Jarablus and Al Bab areas in northern Syria during an operation against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants between August 2016 and March 2017.
Erdoğan on Oct. 8 said Turkey would not allow a Kurdish corridor in Syria extending along the Turkish border to the Mediterranean.