ANKARA, October 10. /TASS/. US President Donald Trump’s warnings to Turkey were made to appease certain US political groups, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday in an interview with the Yeni Safak newspaper.
"I view these words as statements made to prevent tension in certain circles. At present, the fact that [US] troops are being withdrawn from [the zone of the Turkish military operation] demonstrates the true intent [of the US]. They told US that they would not oppose Turkey," Erdogan said.
On October 7, commenting on Turkey’s plans regarding Syria, Trump wrote on Twitter: "If Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I've done before!)." On Wednesday, the US leader said in another Twitter post that "any unforced or unnecessary fighting by Turkey will be devastating to their economy and to their very fragile currency."
Prior to the launch of the Turkish military operation, Trump said he planned to meet with Erdogan in the US capital on November 13.
Erdogan said that despite those harsh statements, he still expected to meet with the US leader.
"Trump and I still maintain bilateral contacts and will continue doing so. We are seeking to strengthen Turkish-American relations," he said. "If God wills, we will be in Washington on November 13. We will have an opportunity to talk."
The Turkish president also said his country had the right to hold a trans-border military operation in Syria, as agreed by the Adana agreement, signed by Turkey and Syria on October 20, 1998.
"As far as the use of the airspace above Syria is concerned, it does not belong to the US. This is international airspace, this is Syrian airspace. Since it does not belong to the US, the issue of its use is up to the [Syrian Presidnet Bashar Al-Assad’s] regime to decide. They [US forces] were not invited there by the regime. We are there as part of the Adana agreement. According to this document, if the regime does not take measures against the Kurdistan Workers' Party, our military has the right to pursue terrorists [on the Syrian territory]," he said.
On Wednesday, Ankara launched a new military operation in northern Syria dubbed Peace Spring, which began with airstrikes on positions of Kurdish units. The objective is to create a buffer zone in northern Syria where up to 3 million Syrians refugees could return, Ankara believes. Syria’s SANA news agency branded the operation as an aggression.