By Muhammet Emin Avundukluoglu
A leading lawmaker of Turkey’s ruling party said on Friday that nobody should test Turkey's determination to fight against terrorism.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Justice and Development (AK) Party Deputy Ramazan Can called on the U.S. to keep the promises it made Turkey on fighting PYD/PKK terrorists.
Can criticized the U.S. arming the terrorist group on the pretext of fighting Daesh.
"Turkey, for its national security, can’t stand by and watch the U.S. forming a terror corridor in this region although we are allies in NATO," said Can, deputy for the central Kirikkale province.
Can reiterated that Turkey has repeatedly made clear its opposition to the formation of "a terror state" in northern Syria through diplomatic means.
"After diplomacy ended, the solution is military intervention," said Can.
"Turkey is a major country. Of course it will protect its survival and independence. Turkey will provide this no matter who stands against it.
"If they don’t take necessary steps, nobody should try to test our determination, we will continue our fight against terrorism.”
The U.S. has called the PYD/YPG/PKK a "reliable partner" in its fight against Daesh and given it arms and equipment, against strong objections by Turkey, which has documented how it is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror group.
Can also blasted fake news stories about Turkey's Operation Olive Branch hurting civilians.
"If we wanted to, we could wipe this [Afrin] region off the map. We saw similar same fake news during” Operation Euphrates Shield, a seven-month counterterrorist operation into Syria that ended successfully last March with Turkish forces returning home, said Can.
"One of Turkey’s most important wishes is not harming civilians during the operation," he said.
On U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's visit to Turkey next week, Can said the U.S. is seeking a solution after seeing Turkey's determination against the terrorist YPG/PKK.
Can said not to expect Turkey to stop its operations against terrorist groups.
"The U.S. should remove its soldiers to a secure region in Manbij. We don’t want to clash with the U.S. However, we will definitely stand against any terror formations beyond our borders," said Can.
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 terrorist oppression and cruelty.
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 are being destroyed and the "utmost care" is being taken to avoid harming civilians.