Erdogan made the comments during a speech in the central province of Konya. Last week he said Turkish forces would launch a new cross-border operation against the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, considered a terrorist organization by Ankara, to the east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria, Reuters reported.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu had earlier said Washington had tried to hold Turkey back during two operations in Syria in the last two years against Daesh terrorists and the YPG, which controls swathes of Syria’s northern border region.
“The United States thought it could deter us with the men it has nurtured,” he said during a visit to Pakistan, state-owned news agency Anadolu reported. “Now, they will try to hold us back east of the Euphrates. Turkey did not, and will not, allow that.”
Turkey has not yet launched an operation east of the Euphrates but has kept up regular airstrikes against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants based in Iraq’s mountains.
Baghdad summoned Turkey’s ambassador to Iraq on Friday after Ankara said it killed eight PKK members. But Turkish warplanes have since carried out further strikes.
On Monday, Turkey’s Defense Ministry said airstrikes on Sunday targeted northern Iraq’s Gara and Hakurk areas and “neutralized” seven militants preparing to attack Turkish bases.
Erdogan has said Turkish forces will enter the Syrian town of Manbij, west of the Euphrates, if the United States does not remove YPG members there and will also target the eastern side, where the YPG controls an area stretching more than 400km (250 miles) along the border toward Iraq.
On Sunday he vowed again to maintain attacks on militants.
“We are always in the heads of the terrorists. We are burying them in the ditches they dig. We will continue to bury them,” he said in a rally in Istanbul.
The United States has set up observation posts on the Syrian border, saying they will deter security threats against Turkey coming from Syria. It has warned Turkey against a new incursion.