MIDEAST >Turkey won’t take part in Raqqa operation if Kurdish militants do: Presidential spokesman

ANKARA

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Turkey will not take part in a U.S.-led coalition operation to liberate the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) de facto capital of Raqqa if Syrian Kurdish fighters are also involved, Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın said. 

Kalın ruled out the possibility of Turkey joining an operation by coalition forces against ISIL militants in Syria’s Raqqa if the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) or its military wing, the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), which Turkey regards as terrorist organizations, also take part. 

“Negotiations are still ongoing, there is nothing certain yet. Our principled stance is the same as it was with Manbij and Jarablus. It is out of the question for us to take part in an operation in which the PYD/YPG are present,” Kalın said in an interview on state-run news channel TRT Haber on Sept. 22. 

Turkey considers PYD and YPG as closely linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and deems all groups to be terrorist organizations. 

“In principle, we support Raqqa and the other Syrian cities being cleansed from Daesh, but as we said before, we have principles and conditions on the issue,” Kalın said, using an Arabic name for ISIL. 

While U.S.-backed Kurdish and Arabs fighters liberated Manbij in early August, Turkey-backed Syrian rebel forces and Turkish troops took control of Jarablus in late August.

September/22/2016

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