Turkey rebuffs Pompeo's remarks over 'slaughtering Kurds'
This handout picture released by the Brazilian presidency shows US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) meeting with Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (L) at the Planalto Palace in Brasilia, on January 2, 2019. Photo by Marcos CORREA / Brazilian Presidency / AFP)
Turkey has decried recent remarks by the U.S. secretary of state on Turkey's role in ensuring Syria's security and territorial integrity.
"We reject both the style and content of U.S. Secretary of State [Mike] Pompeo's statements that he gave yesterday in an interview to a website regarding our country with respect to Syria," Hami Aksoy, spokesman for Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, said in a statement on Jan. 4, according to the state-run Anadolu Agency.
Aksoy's remarks came a day after Pompeo, in an interview with right-wing outlet Newsmax, addressed the U.S. withdrawal from Syria, and mentioned what he called “the importance of ensuring that the Turks don’t slaughter the Kurds, the protection of religious minorities there in Syria. All of those things are still part of the American mission set."
Turkey considers the YPG as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, which both Ankara and Washington list as a terrorist organization.
Pompeo’s confusing the PYD/YPG -- the target of a planned Turkish counter-terrorist operation in Syria -- with “the Kurds” shows a “troubling” lack of information, said Aksoy.
"Turkey will resolutely continue to fight the PKK/PYD/YPG and Daesh terrorist organizations, which threaten Syria's political unity and territorial integrity, and pose an existential threat to its national security," Aksoy said.
Ankara will also continue to protect the rights of Syrian Kurds with respect to the fight against terrorism, he added.