The outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) presence in Syria's northern Manbij region is a threat to Turkey, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said late on April 27.
Yıldırım made the remarks during a guest appearance on televised interview.
"For us, the PKK's presence in Manbij is a threat, a security issue, and must absolutely be resolved," he said.
He said Turkey wants the PKK and its Syrian extensions the PYD and YPG to leave Manbij as the region's native inhabitants are Arabs, Turkmen and people from other ethnic groups.
"In this region, the PKK is making life miserable for residents. We say to the U.S. that this region should be cleared of terrorists. If they don't do this, we will do what is needed in terms of security,” he said, adding he hopes another Afrin operation won't be needed.
"Because the U.S. is there, Russia and other coalition forces are there as well. We don't want to cause any tensions within NATO. That's why first of all, we want to solve this issue with the U.S. But for us, the PKK's presence in Manbij is a threat, a question of security which must be solved, and it will be solved somehow."
On Friday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu referred to the Manbij model, Ankara's plan to eradicate the YPG/PKK from region with U.S. cooperation.
"We will implement the Manbij model in other parts of Syria, especially east of the Euphrates [River], after the approval of this roadmap. Thus, we will have taken a step together on an issue that causes tensions in bilateral relations," Çavuşoğlu said.
Gül should have stood by AKP'
Yıldırım said that former President Abdullah Gül should have stood by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), which he co-founded, rather than being the center of rumors over his potential presidential candidacy.
Speaking in a live televised interview, Yıldırım said Gül should announce his next step regarding his possible presidential candidacy and no longer occupy Turkey's political agenda.
"Mr. Abdullah is our friend in the AKP family, the party has given him all possible positions, there is nothing new we can offer," Yıldırım said.
Source: Hurriyet Daily News