Turkey is determined to continue its fight against terrorism, the country’s presidential aide said on Monday.
“It is out of the question for Turkey to get permission or consent from Israel or any other country [to fight terror],” Ibrahim Kalin told reporters in the capital Ankara after a Cabinet meeting.
Kalin’s remarks came after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday attacked the Turkish president over Turkey's counter-terror operation and Cyprus issues on Twitter.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan responded to Netanyahu’s tweet, saying Israeli prime minister is heading “state terror.”
US troop pullout from Syria
Turkish presidential spokesman described as “historic” the Dec.14 telephone call between Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump that led to Washington’s decision to withdraw forces from Syria.
Kalin said the U.S.’s decision came as a result of the Turkish president’s convincing arguments over the phone with Trump.
He said that Erdogan told Trump “loud and clear” that Turkey and the U.S. do not need PYD/YPG terror group to fight Daesh.
Last week, Trump made the surprise announcement that the U.S. would withdraw its troops from Syria, following a phone call with Erdogan in which the two leaders agreed on the need for more effective coordination over the war-torn country.
Reports have suggested U.S. forces will leave within 60 to 100 days.
Turkish soldiers are to remain in Syria’s Idlib for security and stability of the region, the presidential aide said: “We have 12 military observation points in Idlib region. We continue to strengthen our military presence here in the framework of Idlib agreement.”
After a Sept. 17 meeting in Sochi between Turkish President Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, the two sides agreed to set up a demilitarized zone -- in which acts of aggression are expressly prohibited -- in Syria’s Idlib province.
According to the terms of the deal, opposition groups in Idlib will remain in areas in which they are already present, while Russia and Turkey will conduct joint patrols in the area with a view to preventing a resumption of fighting.
“There is no step back, weakness, halt, or slowdown in the fight against Daesh terror group,” Kalin added.
The Turkish presidential aide said that a US military delegation will visit Turkey this week to discuss the U.S. troop pullout from Syria.
Speaking about developments in the Eastern Mediterranean, Kalin said that Turkey will not allow violation of its rights arising from international law in the region.
Turkey has consistently contested the Greek Cypriot administration’s unilateral drilling activity in the Eastern Mediterranean, saying Turkish Cypriots also have rights to the resources in the area.
Cyprus has been divided since 1974, when a Greek Cypriot coup was followed by violence against the island's Turks and Ankara's intervention as a guarantor power.