ANKARA: If the visiting U.S. national security aide wants to speak to a Turkish official, he should talk with the presidential spokesman, said Turkey’s president on Tuesday.
President Erdogan turning down a meeting with U.S. National Security Adviser Bolton followed Bolton’s claim that Turkey “targets Kurds” in Syria, claims that were firmly rejected by Ankara. If meeting with Bolton were “necessary,” then “we could have said yes,” Erdogan told reporters in the capital Ankara, citing his “heavy schedule” in turning down the meeting. Bolton should instead meet with presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin, said Erdogan.
Erdogan added that he can talk to U.S. President Donald Trump at any moment.
It was after a phone conversation with Erdogan last month that Trump decided to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. On Sunday, Bolton had said the U.S. will not withdraw troops from northeastern Syria until the Turkish government guarantees it won’t attack “Kurdish fighters,” referring to the PKK/YPG terrorist group.
‘Our national security is non-negotiable’: Turkey’s national security is not an issue up for discussion, said the head of Turkey’s presidential communications on Tuesday.
“Turkey’s national security is non-negotiable. Our fight against terrorism isn’t a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’,” presidential communications director Fahrettin Altun wrote on Twitter after a meeting of Turkish and U.S. security officials in the capital Ankara. “U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton held talks with his Turkish counterpart Ibrahim Kalin at the Presidential Complex in Ankara today. I hope that he got a taste of the world-famous Turkish hospitality during his visit,” Altun added.
“Acting like Syrian Kurds and members of a U.S.-designated terrorist group are one and the same is an insult to the Kurdish people and our intelligence,” added Altun.
The meeting came in the wake of Bolton saying the U.S. withdrawal from Syria needed a guarantee Turkey will not attack “Kurds” in Syria, meaning the terrorist PKK/PYD — remarks firmly rejected by Ankara. (AA)