Turkey’s President Erdogan rules out talks with Syrian Kurdish forces


File photo: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

File photo: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday firmly ruled out any negotiations with Kurdish militants in Syria, saying their only option was to lay down arms and retreat.

He dismissed calls from foreign powers, including the United States, who have demanded a ceasefire in Turkey’s week-old operation in northern Syria.

“There are some leaders who are trying to mediate. There has never been any such thing in the history of the Turkish republic as the state sitting at the same table with a terror organisation,” Erdogan said in a speech to parliament.

“Our proposal is that right now, tonight, all the terrorists lay down their arms, their equipment and everything, destroy all their traps and get out of the safe zone that we have designated,” he said.

This was “the quickest way of solving the problem in Syria,” he added.

Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring on October 9 with the aim of establishing a safe zone across northern Syria, which would push back Kurdish fighters from the Turkish border and allow for the repatriation of Syrian refugees.

Erdogan said that once the safe zone was established, stretching from Manbij to the Iraqi border, then the operation would have ended on its own.