Every weapon obtained by YPG constitutes a threat to Turkey: Turkish FM
ISTANBULEvery weapon obtained by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) constitutes a threat to Turkey, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on May 10, emphasizing Ankara’s opposition to a U.S. deal to arming Syrian Kurdish fighters in the battle against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Cavuşoğlu, who was speaking to reporters while on a visit to Montenegro, claimed the YPG was a terrorist organization that is no different than the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), adding that the United States was aware of this fact.
President Tayyip Erdoğan will discuss the issues with President Donald Trump when the former visits Washington next week, the minister said.
Turkey hopes the United States will end its policy of supporting the YPG, Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli said May 10, adding that Ankara could not accept its NATO ally supporting the group.
“We cannot accept the presence of terrorist organizations that would threaten the future of the Turkish state. We hope the U.S. administration will put a stop to this wrong and turn back away from it. Such a policy will not be beneficial, you can’t be in the same sack as terrorist organizations,” Canikli said in an interview with A Haber.
On May 9, Trump authorized the arming of the YPG in Syria “as necessary to ensure a clear victory” in a planned assault to retake the city of Raqqa from ISIL, the Pentagon said May 9, infuriating Turkey.
“Yesterday, the president authorized the Department of Defense to equip Kurdish elements of the Syrian Democratic Forces [SDF] as necessary to ensure a clear victory over ISIL in Raqqa, Syria,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White, who is traveling with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis in Lithuania, said in a statement, adding that Washington was keenly aware of the security concerns of coalition partner Turkey.
“We want to reassure the people and government of Turkey that the U.S. is committed to preventing additional security risks and protecting our NATO ally,” White said.
Ankara considers the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the YPG, as “terrorist” groups linked to the PKK and has long pressed Washington to stop its alliance with the group in the fight against ISIL.