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LOCAL >Turkey expects US solidarity with no question marks: PM

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The gate of an Ankara hospital, where those injured in the Ankara attack were taken, is seen. AA photo

The gate of an Ankara hospital, where those injured in the Ankara attack were taken, is seen. AA photo

Ankara expects the United States, a long-time ally in the struggle against terrorism, to consider any attack on Turkey as an attack on itself without any hesitation, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has said, while commenting on a recent split on the the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Turkey has claimed that the YPG and the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) organized a Feb. 17 car bomb attack in Ankara, which claimed 28 lives.

However, the U.S. has refused to name the YPG as a terrorist organization as it is cooperating with the Kurdish group in Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

“What we expect is solidarity with Turkey without the use of the word ‘but,’” Davutoğlu said, while responding to questions after a nearly five-hour security meeting in Ankara on Feb. 20.

He said a split of opinion over Syria was normal but when it comes to Turkey’s national security, Turkey would not compromise.

Turkey’s presidency said U.S. President Barack Obama had shared his concerns over the Syrian conflict and promised his support on Feb. 19, hours after a tense exchange between the two NATO allies over the role of Kurdish militants.

In a phone conversation that lasted one hour and 20 minutes, Ankara said Obama had told his counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, that Turkey had a right to self-defense and expressed worries over advances by Syrian Kurdish militias near Turkey’s border. 

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu earlier accused the United States of making conflicting statements about the Syrian Kurdish militia. He said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had told him the YPG could not be trusted, in what Çavuşoğlu said was a departure from Washington’s official position.

“My friend Kerry said the YPG cannot be trusted,” Çavuşoğlu said at a news conference during a visit to Tbilisi.
However, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said later in a press meeting that the U.S would keep trusting in the YPG.

 “I trust them in this regard … Until proven otherwise, yes,” he said on Feb. 19, while responding to repeated questions on the matter.

Meanwhile, a claim of responsibility by the Kurdistan Freedom Falcons (TAK), would not change the fact that the Ankara attack on military shuttle buses was organized by the PKK and the YPG, Davutoğlu said. TAK is an offshoot of the PKK, he said, claiming that this was a move to grant legitimacy to the YPG.

February/20/2016

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