Alwaght- Turkey disputed an official US version of phone call between Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdogan amid deepening tensions between the two countries following the ongoing Turkish operation inside Syria.
According to the White House readout of a call between US President Trump and his Turkish counterpart Erdogan relayed “concerns” over the escalating violence in the Kurdish enclave in Afrin. The statement added that Trump urged Turkey to “de-escalate, limit its military actions and avoid civilian casualties”. Trump also called on Ankara to avoid actions that risked conflict with US forces, which have provided arms and air cover for the Kurdish militias Turkey is now battling in Syria, the White House said.
However, a Turkish official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the White House readout did not accurately reflect the content of the call. Trump did not raise concerns about escalating violence in Afrin, the official said, and the two presidents had simply exchanged views on the operation.
The official also denied that Trump had “expressed concern about destructive and false rhetoric coming from Turkey”, as mentioned in the White House readout, saying Trump had instead stressed that open criticism of the US in Ankara was raising concerns in Washington. The official said Erdogan replied that US policies – such as support for the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the “harboring” of Fethullah Gulen, an exiled cleric accused of masterminding the 2016 attempted coup – had “caused outrage among the Turkish people”.
"In an answer to President Erdogan's highlighting request from Washington to stop providing arms to the PYD/YPG terrorists in Syria within the scope of fighting against terrorism, President Trump said the United States are no longer providing PYD/YPG with weapons," the official added.
They also said that there was no discussion of the ongoing state of emergency in Turkey.
"President Trump requested the release of some currently jailed US citizens and local personnel. In an answer to President Trump's request, President Erdogan said Turkey as a state of law and judiciary will decide on the related issues after the indictments are completed."
On Saturday, Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK terrorists from Afrin.
According to the Turkish General Staff, the operation aims to establish security and stability along the Turkish borders and the region as well as to protect the Syrian people from the oppression and cruelty of terrorists. Syria has condemned the operation saying it violates the country’s sovereignty.