Turkish Minister threatens US with an Ottoman slap
Turkish Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu followed his president’s lead during a speech on Wednesday by threatening the United States with an “Ottoman slap” if they continue supporting Turkey’s enemies, the Turkish daily Birgün reported.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had warned the United States that it would receive the “Ottoman slap” if the two countries came to blows in Manbij, an area in northwest Syria which Turkey has threatened to invade to combat armed Kurdish groups that Turkey considers terrorists.
The United States views the same groups as valuable allies in the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) and has deployed troops to Manbij to support them.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to combat one of these groups, the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG), in the northwest Syrian area of Afrin.
The military incursion was launched shortly after the announcement that a 30,000-strong U.S.-backed border force consisting of fighters from the YPG and closely-affiliated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) would be set up along Syria’s border with Turkey.
Soylu told the audience at the speech that Turkey would train 25,000 gendarmerie officers per year in response to the border force plans, reported Birgün. The minister went on to repeat the allegations that the United States had sent 5,000 truckloads of weaponry to the YPG and SDF in Syria.
“Those who are cheering for 5,000 truck-loads of weapons today will soon be shocked to see they are cut off,” he said. “American citizens will soon start asking how and where their tax monies are spent. Whether or not (the Americans) agree to work with us, they will feel the Ottoman slap that our president mentioned yesterday on their faces. "