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US Should End Confusion Over Syria's Future: Turkish PM Featured

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Binali Yildirim says US should change its Syria policy to mend relations with Turkey.

The prime minister on Thursday said the U.S. should end confusion over Syria's future and change its policy in Syria to mend relations with Turkey.

"The practices of our NATO ally U.S. in Syria are unfortunately wrong and against the spirit of alliance. The U.S. should end confusion over the region's future, and change its attitude towards peace and restoring relations with Turkey," Binali Yildirim said during his speech at a provincial security directorate meeting in the capital.

The premier's remarks come after U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Washington owed Turkey an explanation over "inaccurate" reports that it was creating a border force in cooperation with SDF/PKK terrorists in northern Syria.

"That entire situation has been misportrayed, misdescribed, some people misspoke. We are not creating a border security force at all," Tillerson told reporters on his way back from giving a speech at Stanford University in California.

Yildirim said the U.S had made contradictory statements on the issue over the past several days, which he named "signs of confusion".

The U.S.-led international coalition against Daesh said on Sunday that it would establish a 30,000-strong new border security force with the SDF/PKK -- a group largely controlled and manned by the PYD/PKK terrorist organization.

Yildirim went on to say that Turkey's stance was clear. "We will never allow the establishment of a terrorist army along the southern borders [of Turkey]," he reiterated, adding Turkey would take all measures to protect its borders, and citizens within the framework of international law.

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'Pre-emptive' steps

The premier said terrorism was no longer the first topic on Turkey's agenda but there was still work to be done.

"Therefore, we will continue to fight [against terrorism] day and night," he said, underlining that this fight would be based on "offensive" and "pre-emptive" actions as opposed to "defensive".

Yildirim praised the security forces for having thwarted "hundreds of planned terrorist attacks" throughout 2017, citing strong intelligence and cooperation between units as the reason behind this achievement.

The premier emphasized the importance of ensuring security along the country's borders, and taking "fast" and "preventive" measures in order to "eliminate any outside threats against our citizens, and to prevent terrorist elements from crossing our borders and engage in terrorist activities inside the country".

Yildirim said Turkey's resolute fight against terrorism also guaranteed Europe's security.

"We want all countries in the world to see clearly our determination in the fight against terrorism as Turkey's fight in this regard actually provides the security of Europe.

"Because the borders of the European Union, and NATO start from Turkey's southern and eastern borders," he said.


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