Speaking at a press conference with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, who was in the capital Ankara for a day-long visit, Erdogan said: “Members of the Free Syrian Army and Jarabulus residents have recaptured Jarabulus.”
Turkish military’s Operation Euphrates Shield in Syria was launched early Wednesday, when artillery and airstrikes were followed by Turkish tanks crossing the border to target Daesh and the PYD in support of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters.
The Ankara-backed fighters took control of Jarabulus, where one FSA member was killed. The Turkish army sustained no casualties.
Jarabulus is located 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the Turkish-Syrian border.
Erdogan said the most important issue in the region was the fight against terrorism. “Whether [the fight is against] Daesh, the PKK, the PYD or FETO, [they are] all terrorists in our view,” he said.
“Al-Nusrah, Al-Shabab whichever [organization it] is, [they are] all terrorist organizations,” he added. “We cannot make distinctions [such as] bad terrorists, good terrorists. Terrorists are terrorists,” he said.
In reference to the PYD, which is reportedly fighting Daesh in Syria, Erdogan said: “One terrorist organization fighting with another one does not justify it.”
While Turkey considers the PYD to be the Syrian affiliate of the terrorist PKK organization, the U.S. sees the group as its ally in the fight against Daesh.
Extradition of Gulen
About the U.S.-based leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), Erdogan said the main priority for Turkey was the extradition of Fetullah Gulen as soon as possible.
He told Biden the U.S. could "at least" detain the FETO leader. The Turkish government blames FETO for the deadly July 15 coup attempt, in which at least 240 people were martyred.
Gulen, who lives in self-exile in the U.S., is also accused of leading a long-running campaign to overthrow the Turkish government through the infiltration of state institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary, forming what is commonly known as the parallel state.
Biden, who visited Turkish parliament in Ankara during his visit, which was heavily attacked during the July coup attempt, said: “I saw some of the damage myself today, meeting some of the members of your parliament, including the speaker.
“I can understand Mr. President how some of your countrymen would feel that the world didn’t respond to the existential crisis your country facing rapidly enough.
“That’s why I want to personally be here. And I was asked by the [U.S.] president to personally be here to represent him, to tell you and all of your colleagues and your countryman how very, very sorry I am, the president as the American people are for the suffering and lose you have endured,” he said.
Biden reiterated that the “U.S. stands with our ally Turkey, we support people of Turkey and our support is absolute and unwavering.
“This attempted coup was an attack on the people of Turkey, not just the government.”
He added the U.S. was “committed to doing everything we can to help bring justice for all those responsible for this coup attempt.
“Even as [we] speak, our American experts are on the ground here in Ankara, meeting with your people, closely coordinating with our Turkish counterparts to evaluate and gather material with regard to Turkish request to extradite Gulen in accordance our bilateral extradition treaty.
“We have more lawyers working on this case than any other extradition in recent history.”
During his earlier meeting with parliament Speaker Ismail Kahraman, Biden had said: “[We] wish Gulen were in another country, not in U.S.”
The Erdogan-Biden meeting lasted around two-and-a-half hours at the presidential palace in Ankara.