Ankara – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has scoffed at the flood of tweets from his Washington counterpart and announced that he would ignore Donald Trump's comments on Twitter as a text message service. "We've read Trump's comments on Twitter so far, but we've gotten to the point where we can no longer track those tweets," Erdogan said Wednesday according to a press release. "We can not do it anymore."
Trump is known for his excessive use of Twitter and regularly announces important decisions about the online service. Trump also announced the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria, paving the way for the Turkish offensive in the region. Since then, he has daily canceled a series of tweets in which he justified his decision, commented on the offensive and threatened Turkey with sanctions.
For example, Trump warned Turkey not to do what he believes is wrong in "His Great and Unparalleled Wisdom." Other tweets also caused a frown on the international scene: he justified the end of aid to the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG by saying that they "did not help the US in Normandy during the Second World War". He also tweeted that "Russia, China or Napoleon Bonaparte" could in future defend the Kurds if they wanted.
Erdogan excludes ceasefire
The US demands for a ceasefire with the YPG dismissed Erdogan a week after the start of the offensive. "We can never declare a ceasefire," said Erdogan after a report by CNN Turk channel Tuesday evening in front of Turkish journalists. First, Turkey must achieve its goal and that is the establishment of a so-called security zone along the border and the expulsion of the YPG. Meanwhile, two Syrian government soldiers were killed in northern Syria – according to activists, by shelling Turkish troops.
Erdogan spoke shortly before visiting a US delegation with US Vice President Mike Pence and Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo in Ankara. For Thursday, according to the White House, a bilateral meeting between Pence and Erdogan is planned. The delegation wants to mediate and find a solution to the military conflict.
Turkey started the long-planned offensive against the Kurdish militia YPG in northern Syria a week ago. Ankara justified the operation with the right to self-defense. Turkey regards the Kurdish militia YPG and its political arm PYD as terrorist organizations. The YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), on the other hand, were an important US partner in the fight against IS (Daesh) militia. Internationally, the Turkish invasion of northern Syria is severely criticized.
Erdogan unimpressed by US sanctions
The US government imposed sanctions on Turkey on Monday calling for a ceasefire. Among other things, two ministries and three ministers were punished. Erdogan said the US was putting pressure on Turkey to stop the operation. "Our goal is clear," said Erdogan. His country is not worried about sanctions.
The Turkish president was also not impressed by the restriction of German arms exports. Erdogan even attacked German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas personally. "Here comes the German Foreign Minister – a man who does not know his borders – and says:" We will not sell weapons to Turkey. "Erdogan scoffed:" We are at the end. "Not he but Germany will lose. Maas also has no idea about politics – he is a "dilettante". "If you understood politics, you would not speak that way," Erdogan said to Maas.
Germany was the only sanction to have partially stopped its arms exports to Turkey. Armaments that can not be used in the conflict may still be exported.
The US wants to use sanctions as a lever and Pence's mediation mission to reach a ceasefire in northern Syria. Trump said Tuesday in Washington that the US government has already imposed "strong" sanctions on Turkey. He stressed, however, that the sanctions could be extended if the previous steps had no effect. Trump had cleared the way for the Turkish offensive with the withdrawal of US soldiers from the region itself. The Kurdish militias felt that was a betrayal.
Patrons of Assad and Russia patrol
The SDF, led by Kurdish militias, has now turned to Damascus and Moscow for help, but described the agreement as a "painful compromise." Troops of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and the allied Russian army are now patrolling northern Syria. US troops were withdrawn on Tuesday from the village Manbdisch and left Assad and Russia the area.
Erdogan said, according to CNN Turk, government forces in Manbijk are "not very negative" for Turkey. "Why? In the end it is their territory. For me it is important that there are no terrorist organizations. "Erdogan means the YPG.
According to activists, Turkish troops and their allies bombarded an area east of the city of Ain Issa during the night of Wednesday, killing two Syrian government soldiers. Others were injured. A grenade was smashed on a post. According to the activists, nine SDF fighters and 21 pro-Turkish rebels were killed in the attack.
It would be the first two deaths in the ranks of the Syrian army by a direct confrontation with Turkish troops since the beginning of the Turkish military offensive a week ago.
Putin wants to talk to Erdogan
The governments in Ankara and Damascus initially did not comment on the attack. According to the Kremlin, Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to clarify with Erdogan in a personal conversation, how to avoid a direct confrontation of Syrian and Turkish troops in the civil war country. Putin has invited his Turkish counterpart to Russia. Russia supports Syrian President al-Assad.
This Wednesday, the UN Security Council in New York also wants to revisit the Northern Syria conflict. Already last Thursday, Germany and five other EU-longs had called for an end to the offensive. However, the Council was unable to agree on a joint communication. (dpa / AFP, TT.com)