Trump admits it is ‘wrong’ to provide arms to YPG: Turkish PM Yıldırım
U.S. President Donald Trump recently told Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in clear terms that it İs “wrong” to supply weapons to the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has stressed.
“Mr. Trump understood what is important for Turkey,” Yıldırım said during an interview with BBC World, in reference to Trump’s pledge to Erdoğan in a phone call on Nov. 24 to end the supply of arms to the YPG in Syria.
“They [the U.S.] said this [cooperation with YPG or PYD] is not a choice. This is a necessity. OK. We understand, although we do not accept. It is a temporary relation. Now, it is time to finish because Daesh is already defeated,” he added, using another acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
“So, President Trump said it is wrong to provide weapons. This is clearly mentioned,” the prime minister said.
Stating that Turkish policy on fighting against ISIL had been “clear” from the beginning, Yıldırım said it was important to “choose the right partner” to fight ISIL.
“You are not able to fight a terror organization using another terror organization,” he added.
After the conversation between Erdoğan and Trump, the U.S. later said it is “reviewing pending adjustments to the military support provided to our Kurdish partners in as much as the military requirements of our defeat-ISIS and stabilization efforts will allow to prevent ISIS from returning,” referring to ISIL.
“We have always been clear with Turkey that the weapons provided to the [Syrian Democratic Forces] SDF, to include its Kurdish elements, would be limited, mission-specific and provided incrementally to achieve military objectives,” Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon told state-run Anadolu Agency.
He said the U.S. would “continue our partnership with the SDF to complete the military defeat of ISIS.”
At the White House, spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that even though a complete defeat of ISIL is in sight, “that doesn’t mean stopping all support of those individual groups.”
“Once we started winning the campaign against ISIS, the plan and part of the process is to always wind down support for certain groups,” she said.
“Now that we’re continuing to crush the physical caliphate, we’re in a position to stop providing military equipment to certain groups,” she added.
Meanwhile, responding to a question on whether Turkey had submitted evidence to Washington showing that the U.S.-based Fethullah Gülen had links to the July 2016 coup attempt, Yıldırım said the necessary documents have been submitted.
“For us, it is obvious. We have no hesitation. We have no doubt about it,” he said.
Questioned about the government’s sweeping crackdown since the coup attempt, Yıldırım emphasized the trauma of the night of the coup attempt.
“This kind of accusation is there. I accept it. But those who are accusing us should think about what happened on July 15, 2916,” he said.
“Our parliament building [was] bombed. Their bombs killed 250 innocent people and [left] 2,194 heavily injured. What can we do then? We have to find [those] who committed crimes. This is the situation in Turkey,” Yıldırım said.
“We don’t detain people without evidence. This is for sure,” he said, claiming that “the rule of law prevails in Turkey.”
The prime minister called on Turkey’s critics to show “empathy” instead.
“Have you faced this kind of thing? If you do face this kind of thing, we would see what you would do in response,” he said.
Yıldırım also dismissed accusations that Erdoğan had been becoming an “authoritarian” leader.“
Erdoğan is not deciding who is going to jail or who is going to [be] freed. Courts decide ... We have a free press. Even the pro-PKK paper is published,” he said.