Turkish President Erdogan threatens U.S. with an “Ottoman slap,” warning that his country “will fight” the United States if it stands in the way of its anti-Kurdish operations.
Breitbart Binali Yıldırım, who serves as prime minister under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, told Deutsche Welle that the U.S. is violating its NATO obligations by fighting alongside what the Turks like to call “terrorists” of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) against the Islamic State.
“We have a problem with the YPG,” he said. “But if the U.S. begins warring against us by the side of the YPG, we will fight them as well.” (Bring it!)
The warning follows Erdoğan threatening that U.S. forces would receive an “Ottoman slap” if they came into conflict with the Turkish forces which have invaded Syria — a reference to the Turk-led Ottoman Empire which once conquered much of the Middle East and Europe, including Cyprus, Greece, Serbia, and Hungary.
“It is clear that those who say ‘we will respond aggressively if you hit us’ have never experienced an Ottoman slap,” Erdoğan had said, after Lt. Gen. Paul Funk had warned, “You hit us, we will respond aggressively. We will defend ourselves,” while inspecting U.S. troops in Manbij, just yards away from Turkish-backed forces.
“We will destroy every terrorist we have seen, starting with the ones standing by [the Americans’] side,” added the Turkish leader. “Then they will understand that it is better for them to not to stand alongside the terrorists.”
The Islamic fundamentalist Justice and Development Party (AKP) which rules in Turkey appears to be spoiling for a showdown with the West, with Erdoğan adviser Yiğit Bulut allegedly suggesting that the U.S. is trying to encourage Greece to take on Turkey — but warning that this would be akin to “a fly picking a fight with a giant”. (Not with the U.S. military backing them)
IB Times The US has rubbished the “Ottoman slap” threat issued by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan over a possible confrontation between American and Turkish military personnel in the ongoing conflict in Syria.
The two sides are operating dangerously close to each other in the strife-torn Syrian region where the US backs the YPG Kurdish fighters, who are regarded as “terrorists” by Ankara. Following a sudden escalation of the anti-Kurdish offensive in recent weeks by Turkey, concerns have surfaced that the situation could put the US and Turkey, both Nato members, at the opposite sides of the war zone directly.
Amid the volatile atmosphere, Erdogan had warned Turkish forces will not return until they wipe out the Kurdish militants in the region and asked the US to stop funding the Kurdish fighters or face Turkey’s wrath.
Erdogan’s remarks come in the wake of an imminent visit by the US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is set to hold talks with top Turkish officials on Thursday and Friday (15, 16 February) in easing the situation and to avoid a showdown.
But, the US State Department called Erdogan’s threat as “funny”. The department’s spokeswoman Heather Nauert said: “As funny as it was the comment that you explained to me, I’m not going to respond to every foreign leader’s comment.”
In January, Turkey had launched a major military offensive, codenamed “Operation Olive Branch”, against Kurdish insurgents in Syria’s Afrin and Manbij, the area where Washington has deployed its personnel in training capacity. The operation is still underway.