BEIRUT, LEBANON (7:40 P.M.) – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned of the prospect of an “Ottoman slap” as the US continues to provide financial support for YPG Kurdish militants in Syria, during a speech to the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party’s parliamentary group in Ankara on Tuesday.
The Turkish leader stated “it’s very clear that those who say ‘if you hit us, we’ll hit back hard,’ have never in their lives gotten the Ottoman slap.”
His comments come after Lieutenant General Paul Funk, a US commander in Syria, recently gave the clear message to Ankara: “You hit us, we will respond aggressively. We will defend ourselves.”
During the address, Erdogan also issued a warning to neighbouring countries Greece and Cyprus, as well as international companies exploring for gas in the eastern Mediterranean not to “step over the line” in the Aegean Sea.
Ankara has disputed the rights of Cyprus to drill in uninhabited islets in the Aegean Sea, a disputed region which has been a source of tension between Greece and Turkey since the 1970s.