Turkey will not allow any threats or any formations anywhere, Vice President Oktay says
By Can Erozden and Kubra Chohan
“Our fight on our borders will continue until the moment when no element threatening Turkey is left,” Turkey’s Vice President said on Monday and added that Turkey will not allow any threats or any formations anywhere.
“Turkey has shown its determination and done what is necessary,” Fuat Oktay said.
Fuat Oktay was Monday’s guest at the Anadolu Agency’s Editors’ Desk.
“Turkey won’t tolerate any terrorist threat on its 911-kilometer long border [with Syria],” he added.
Oktay said the U.S. promised to eliminate PKK/YPG in Syria’s Manbij but it postponed the solution. “Turkey does not have tolerance to postpone it any further,” he added.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.
“A country has to be strong in economic, military, political and social terms in order to have stability,” Oktay said.
About the Turkish economy, Oktay said: “We live at a time, where the foreign exchange, dollar and domestic policies are used as weapons in the economy.”
Turkey is looking for the person, who ordered the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi on its soil, he said.
Oktay said that Turkey carried out an investigation into Khashoggi’s killing with “transparency and a serious manner.”
He stated that Turkey has given a message that no one can ever attempt to commit such a murder and those who do “will pay the price.”
Khashoggi, a columnist for The Washington Post, disappeared on Oct. 2 after entering the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul to receive paperwork he needed to get married.
Once inside, he was immediately strangled and then dismembered, according to the Istanbul Prosecutor’s office.
Oktay also talked about the U.S. sanctions on Iran and said it’s “not meaningful and fair” to expect all countries to obey sanctions for a country’s interests.
“We clearly expressed our stance about the U.S. sanctions. We’ll see fallouts of a statement to be made today”, he added.
The U.S. reimposed all of the sanctions it lifted on Iran following a historic pact world powers struck with the Islamic Republic.
Announced by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin last week, the sanctions which cover Iran’s energy, shipbuilding, shipping and financial sectors took effect on Monday.
They are the second batch the U.S. administration reinstated since President Donald Trump unilaterally pulled out of the nuclear deal in May despite objections from close allies in Europe.
The U.S. is seeking to “alter” Iranian behavior with the sanctions, and has been leaking out a stream of 12 demands it wants to see Iran agree to in exchange for re-lifting the economic penalties.
Eight countries who have significantly curtailed their imports of Iranian oil have been granted temporary waivers to allow them to continue importing Iranian oil after the penalties take effect.
Two of the countries have agreed to reduce imports to zero while six others “will import at greatly reduced levels,” Pompeo said.
Separately, Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said on Friday that Turkey is among the countries, which are exempted from these sanctions.
Normalizing ties with US
About the Turkey-U.S. relations, Oktay said Turkey’s problem in relations with the U.S. was never about pastor Andrew Brunson. “We did not have such a problem nor do we still think it is one,” he said.
Turkey and the U.S. have faced rocky relations following Washington’s imposition of sanctions over Brunson’s detention.
Political tensions between the two countries sparked worries in the markets after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to use economic pressure to secure Brunson’s release.
Brunson, who was freed on October 12, had been arrested in December 2016 and charged in the Aegean province of Izmir for having links to the FETO, the group behind a defeated coup earlier that year.
After being transferred this July from jail to house arrest, Brunson was sentenced to just over three years in prison, but released due to time served and his good behavior in custody.
Oktay said Turkey will start discussing real problems to normalize ties with the U.S.