Stop testing Turkey, aiding YPG: Deputy PM Bozdağ

Stop testing Turkey, aiding YPG: Deputy PM Bozdağ

Stop testing Turkey, aiding YPG: Deputy PM Bozdağ

If the United States wants to keep ties with Turkey, it should withdraw its support for the People’s Protection Units (YPG), Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on Feb. 10.

Talking to reporters in central Yozgat province, Bozdağ said the U.S. must show understanding of Turkey's sensitivity and concerns. 

“If the U.S. shows a little empathy, they will see how righteous Turkey’s moves are. So, here is what Turkey will say to others about its Operation Olive Branch [in Syria’s northern Afrin province]: Stop testing us. Stop trying us.”

He reiterated Turkey’s expectations and called on the U.S. to end every kind of aid provided to the YPG, a militant group Ankara considers to be organicaly-linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“Turkey wants to have good terms with the U.S., which is a NATO ally; the U.S. also wants to have good terms with us,” Bozdağ said. 

“Then it is clear. You [the U.S.] will not support terror, you will not give weapons to the terrorists, you will not train the terrorists.” 

Bozdağ's call came amid strained bilateral ties between Ankara and Washington over a number of issues. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster are due to visit Turkey in the coming days for crucial talks with senior Turkish officials on continued tension over Syria.

Bozdağ lashes out at CHP head Kılıçdaroğlu

The deputy prime minister also lashed out at main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu who said he did not find it right for Turkey to enter Afrin’s city center during the ongoing operation.

Bozdağ said: “Saying ‘do not enter Afrin’s city center’ is the same as saying ‘do not touch the terrorists there.”

“It is not understandable to hear this from the main opposition party’s head,” he added. 

He said Turkey would continue its operation until the Afrin region is completely cleared of the YPG.

On Jan. 20, Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” to clear YPG militants from Afrin in northwestern Syria.