US plans of balkanizing Syria for pipeline politics lie in tatters as Turkey to continue military operation in northern Syria: Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo by AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (Photo by AFP)

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey is to keep up its so-called Euphrates Shield military operation in northern Syria, which serves to keep Kurdish militants away from its borders.

The operation spans Syria’s Afrin and Manbij regions. The country launched the mission in 2016, saying it sought to fight off the Takfiri Daesh terror group. Later, however, Ankara was seen using the drive to push against the Kurds.

Turkey associates the Kurdish militants in Syria with the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been fighting a decades-long separatist war against Ankara.

The Turkish operation, however, comes without the Syrian government’s permission, prompting repeated calls by Damascus to stop its military intervention.

Photo taken around five kilometers (3.1 miles) west of the Turkish Syrian border city of Karkamis on August 25, 2016 shows Turkish army tanks driving to the Syrian Turkish border town of Jarabulus. (Photo by AFP)

Despite angering Syria on the matter, Turkey, along with Russia and Iran, has made great diplomatic strides to help end the crisis in Syria.

The trio has been mediating a peace process in Astana, Kazakhstan, between Syria’s warring sides since January 2016.

‘US, Gulen in cahoots’

Separately, Erdogan branded a United States legal case against a Turkish banker as a “political coup attempt” and a joint effort by the CIA and the FBI to undermine Turkey.

Last week, a jury in New York found Mehmet Hakan Atilla guilty on five of six counts he faced, including bank fraud and conspiracy to violate US sanctions law.

Erdogan said the CIA, the FBI and the network of Fetullah Gulen, a US-based cleric, whom Turkey blames for a failed 2016 coup against the Turkish administration, were working together, using the case to undermine Ankara.

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