Erdogan: Turkey can go it alone to establish Syria safe zone

Erdogan: Turkey can go it alone to establish Syria safe zone
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a military academy ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, Thursday Jan. 24, 2019. Erdogan says he is shocked by U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to recognise Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido's claim to the presidency.(Presidential Press Service via AP, Pool)

ISTANBUL (AP) — Turkey’s president has warned the U.S. that Ankara can go it alone in establishing a safe zone in northeastern Syria if talks with Washington on the issue fail to produce results.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday said Turkey wouldn’t “wait forever” to set up a 20-mile-deep zone east of the Euphrates River in Syria. Ankara wants Syrian Kurdish militia to withdraw from there. Erdogan is seeking logistical and financial assistance from the U.S. in this.

The safe zone would serve as a buffer between Turkey and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Democratic Forces —a key U.S. ally in the fight against the Islamic State group— after U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria.

Turkey considers Syrian Kurdish forces terrorists and has threatened to launch a new military offensive against them in Syria.