UPDATE WITH MORE ERDOGAN REMARKS
By Merve Aydogan and Emin Avundukluoglu
ANKARA (AA) – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday stressed his determination to eliminate terrorists from northern Iraq.
“Our goal is to completely clear Sinjar and Mt. Qandil of the separatist terrorist organization [referring to PKK],” Erdogan said during his speech at the opening of Turkish parliament’s second legislative session in the capital Ankara.
Mt. Qandil is home to the PKK terror group's headquarters and the terror group initially established a presence in Sinjar in 2014 on the pretext of “protecting” the local Ezidi community from the Daesh terrorist group.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the death of some 40,000 people, including women and children.
On recent developments in Turkish economy, Erdogan said: “They tried to topple our economy under the cover of darkness. We are proceeding with aims to overcome these attacks.”
As Turkey proceeds ahead with the new presidential system, Erdogan recalled the challenges country faces and vowed to “immediately” resolve issues.
''However, the fluctuation in the economy, which doesn't reflect the reality in our country causes challenges to be more apparent,” he added.
Erdogan said that the U.S. administration tried to solve issues between the two countries "with the language of threat instead of dialogue".
"This method, which is supposed to make us pay a price, actually harms the U.S. most in the medium and long term," said the Turkish president.
Erdogan said that the U.S. has lost "its reliability with its additional implementations on Turkey".
"It is impossible for any country in the world to look to the future of their relations with the U.S. with confidence," he added.
He further vowed to combat against “twisted diplomacy” that applies sanctions against Turkey by pleading “a pastor who is being tried due to obscure relations with a terror group”.
Erdogan was referring to Pastor Andrew Brunson who is under house arrest in Turkey for terrorism charges.
Despite the tensions between Turkey and the U.S. over Brunson case, Erdogan said: “We hope to develop political and economic relations with the U.S. under a strategic partnership perspective.”
He also drew attention to relations with Russia, and vowed to further strengthen “positive cooperation in the days ahead.”