Erdogan: NATO does not need YPG

By Ilker Girit

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Friday for common sense in Macedonia after some protesters stormed a parliament in capital Skopje, injuring parliamentarians.

“We hope that Macedonia… will leave behind this difficult period with the common sense of the parties as soon as possible,” Erdogan said while addressing the Atlantic Council Istanbul Summit.

"Violence cannot cure any problem," he said, wishing that Macedonia will soon see stability.

Earlier, a presidential source said that Turkish president called Macedonian counterpart Gyorge Ivanov on the phone and assured him that Turkey would continue to support Macedonia "towards a peaceful and prosperous future."

"It will be in the interests of all groups that the work of establishing a new government is carried out within the framework of democratic rule-of-law principles," the source, who spoke to Anadolu Agency on condition of anonymity due to restrictions on talking to the media, quoted Erdogan as saying.

On Thursday, some protesters demonstrating in front of the parliament stormed the building after ethnic Albanian Talat Xhaferi was elected as speaker of the parliament.

Live television footage showed anti-Albanian protesters injuring the leader of the Social Democrats Zoran Zaev. The majority coalition led by his party supported Xhaferi.

The parliament building was evacuated, and a total of 42 people, including lawmakers and journalists, sought help at local medical centers for various injuries, according to reports.

On Thursday night, Macedonian President Gjorge Ivanov called an emergency meeting to resolve the crisis. 
 
NATO chief 'shocked' by attack

"There is no issue that cannot be resolved through dialogue in accordance with the Constitution and laws of the Republic of Macedonia," Ivanov said. "I therefore urge the leaders of the parliamentary parties that tomorrow they come into my office for a meeting of leaders to discuss the situation."

While calling for restraint, the United Nations said in a statement that it was following the developments "with great concern".

"Violence directed at democratic institutions and elected representatives of the people is unacceptable," it said.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said he was "shocked" by the attack.

"All parties must respect the democratic process. They must support dialogue, not violence," Stoltenberg wrote on Twitter.

In a joint statement, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and enlargement commissioner Johannes Hahn condemned the attack "in the strongest terms".

"Democracy must run its course. We take positive note of the election of Talat Xhaferi as Speaker of the Parliament, as reported," the statement added.

Macedonia has been an EU candidate country for over a decade, but the parties have yet to launch accession negotiations. 
 
‘NATO should not arm terror groups’

Erdogan said that the NATO members have enough power to defeat any threat in the region such as Daesh in Syria and Iraq, questioning: "Why are we asking for help from terrorist organization?"

He called on the NATO members to not to cooperate with the local forces like YPG -- the terrorist PKK’s Syrian branch -- in fight against Daesh.

The Turkish president said that U.S.' acting together with YPG/PYD in Syria "is damaging the spirit of the alliance and partnership."

He said Turkey expects from U.S. government to target all terror groups, adding: “we will be mistaken if we target ones while supporting other terror groups.”

Erdogan said that arming terror groups in Syria is posing threat to Turkey, stating that Turkey will not allow any creation of a terror corridor in northern Syria.

He stated that the alliance should not collaborate with terror organizations to eliminate other terror groups, stressing that Turkey is ready for any kind of coalition on the ground to defeat Daesh.

He said that US-led coalition forces together with Turkey and Free Syrian Army can clean so-called Daesh capital Raqqa where around 2,500-5,000 terrorists are taking shelter.

"This is not a difficult thing for us… We proved this in Jarabulus, Al-Rai, and Al-Bab," Erdogan added.

"We should reinforce the roots of the alliance and the partnership during the painful period we are going through," he stressed.

Erdogan also said that Turkey is a strong and trustworthy member of the NATO alliance and will be.

The Turkish military Tuesday killed 40 terrorists in northern Iraq and 30 others in northeastern Syria in an air operation against the YPG positions.

The U.S. State Department said it was "deeply concerned" over the strikes.

According to statement released by the Turkish military, 11 border outposts were attacked 13 times by terrorist PKK/PYD units from Syria on Thursday.

This incident has sparked a criticism that Turkey – a NATO member -- was targeted by the group that has been supported by other NATO member, the U.S.

"The essence of the Atlantic alliance is to back each other, to show solidarity on difficult days," Erdogan urged.

The PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and EU -- resumed its armed campaign against Turkey in July 2015 and since then has been responsible for the deaths of approximately 1,200 security personnel and civilians, including women and children.
 
 
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01.05.2017
 
 

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