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Turkish president lauds US strike in central Syria

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks at the Atlantic Council Energy Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, on April 28, 2017. (Photos by AFP)

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has praised the incumbent US administration for the US missile attack against a military airfield in Syria’s central province of Homs, stating that President Donald Trump has shown a “more determined” approach than his predecessor Barack Obama.

“It was late coming but something that we welcomed," Erdogan said at the Atlantic Council Energy Summit in Istanbul on Friday.

On April 7, the Pentagon said 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles had been fired from two warships in the Mediterranean Sea at Shayrat airfield in Homs.

US officials claimed that a suspected chemical incident in the town of Khan Shaykhun in Idlib province on April 4, which reportedly killed over 80 people, had been launched from the military site. Syria has vehemently dismissed the allegations of being behind the attack.

Syria’s official news agency, SANA, reported that at least nine people had been killed in the early morning US strike on the Syrian airfield.

The picture taken on April 7, 2017 shows a view of the damaged Shayrat airfield in Syria, following a US missile attack.

'New page in Turkey-US ties'

Erdogan further voiced confidence that he and Trump can open a “new page” in Ankara-Washington relations, when they meet in mid-May.

“I believe that we will open a new page with Mr. Trump in Turkey-US relations,” he said.

The Turkish president also stated that he expected a turnaround from the US administration on the use of Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) forces in a planned US-led offensive to retake Daesh’s Syrian stronghold of Raqqah.

“We can never accept cooperation with a terror organization that is aiming at the lives of our people on the pretext of fighting against Daesh,” Erdogan said.

He added that the “concrete support” that the United States offers to the YPG is “harming the spirit of alliance and partnership.”

“Why are we asking for help from terrorist organizations? We are here. Turkey, coalition forces led by the United States and the Free Syrian Army all together can wipe them (Daesh) out. This is not a difficult thing for us,” Erdogan asserted.

“I believe we can achieve this and I will tell this to Trump,” he said.

The Turkish leader emphasized that he will not let “fools” form a Kurdish state in northern Syria, adding, "We will not allow efforts to create a terror corridor in our southern border."

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Erdogan also renewed earlier demands for the extradition of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the Ankara government blames for the failed July 15 coup.

The Turkish president said Turkey is “seriously concerned that the terrorist chief can easily go about his business.”

Erdogan highlighted that the arrest of Gulen by the United States is a “basic expectation” of Turkey.

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