Turkey to closely monitor whether US keeps pledge on not arming YPG: Deputy PM Bozdağ
Turkey will closely monitor whether the U.S. is abiding by its reported pledge to cut off its weapons supply to the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ has vowed.
“Trump did not make such a statement [on cutting off weapons to the YPG] until now. On the contrary, they said that they would give [the weapons]. But now for the first time through the mouth of the U.S. president a statement saying ‘we’ll no longer give weapons’ has been made. This is extremely important. If this statement hangs in the air and [the U.S.] continues to supply weapons underhand, this statement [of Trump] will have no value,” Bozdağ said on broadcaster Kanal 24 on Nov. 27.
“We need to see the concrete reflections of [Trump’s] statement on the land. Has the PYD/YPG terror organization been given weapons by the U.S. after the statement was made? Turkey will certainly monitor this pledge,” he added.
Bozdağ’s comments came following a telephone call on Nov. 24 between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump, during which Trump reportedly assured that Washington would no longer send weapons to the YPG, the armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters about Trump’s pledge following the phone call.
“President Trump has instructed [his generals] in a very open way that the YPG will no longer be given weapons. He openly said this absurdity should have ended much earlier,” Çavuşoğlu said.
The White House stated on Nov. 24 that Trump said he had informed Erdoğan that Washington was “adjusting” military support to partners on the ground in Syria.
Erdoğan has repeatedly conveyed Turkey’s concerns to the U.S. over the continued delivery of heavy weapons and armored vehicles to the YPG, a group Ankara considers a terror organization due to its links with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
Asked on Nov. 27 about the fate of the weapons that have been provided to the YPG up until now, Bozdağ said they “must be collected back.”
“In every meeting with officials from Turkey, U.S. officials have said they were forced to undertake such a partnership due to the struggle against the [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] ISIL terror organization. They said that when the struggle [against ISIL] is over, they would collect them back. We’ll also follow up these statements,” he added.