On February 6, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan mocked the US operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and rejected the US criticism of Ankara’s Operation Olive Branch in the Syrian area of Afrin.
“When are you going to finish with us asking the question, when did you finish your operations in Afghanistan? When did you finish your operations in Iraq? It’s been 18 years,” the president said at a meeting of his AK Party in the parliament, according to Hurriyet newspaper.
Erdogan continued saying that the US has “calculations against Turkey, Iran and maybe Russia” in Syria and described the US presence there as opportunistic.
Erdogan also said that the US should to withdraw from the Syrian city of Manbij, which is now controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democrataic Forces (SDF), mostly consisting of Kurdish militias. He added that Turkish forces will return “to its true owners.”
The existing diplomatic tensions between Washington and Ankara have grown further since the start of the Turkish military opeartion against the Kurdish YPG/YPJ [described by Turkey as a terrorist group] in Afrin. The key problem is that the YPG/YPJ is the core of the SDF that receives arms and training from the US.