Turkish, American delegations meet to seek a formula over PYD role

Turkish, American delegations meet to seek a formula over PYD role

Uğur Ergan - ANKARA
Turkish, American delegations meet to seek a formula over PYD role

AP photo

Days after Turkish and American presidents, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Barack Obama respectively, held talks in Washington D.C. to discuss future phases of the joint fight against jihadists in Syria and Iraq, a delegation composed of United States’ soldiers and a diplomat has arrived in Ankara to find a formula over the role of the military wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in plans to re-take the Manjib region. 

Diplomats, soldiers and intelligence officers from two sides met in Ankara on April 4, daily Hürriyet learnt from sources, and focused on plans to retake the Manbij area from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) through an offensive to be carried out by the PYD, deemed as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) by Turkey.

With concerns that the PYD would take advantage of its battles against ISIL in northern Syria to increase its territory for future goals of declaring an autonomous region, Turkey has urged the U.S. not to regard this organization as a reliable partner in this fight. Last week’s intensive talks in Washington D.C. between high level officials sought to find an efficient way to let the PYD fight against ISIL but to disallow the group from taking direct control of the area. 

The talks in Ankara are believed to have produced a formula satisfying both sides’ concerns. Washington is unwilling to stop using the PYD as an efficient military force in the anti-ISIL fight, while Turkey demands the U.S. to acknowledge the group as an affiliate of the PKK and understand that any support given to this group increases the capacity of the terrorist organization. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan negotiated hard terms with U.S. President Barack Obama and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden last week in Washington where he was attending the Nuclear Security Summit, Turkish sources said, according to an earlier report penned by Hürriyet’s Washington reporter, Tolga Tanış.

According to his report, the U.S. has asked for Turkey’s support to take back Manbij, which lies at the southeastern end of the 98-kilometer border Turkey shares with Syria that is controlled by ISIL. Turkey in return put forth two demands. 

Erdoğan first demanded that the Syrian Arab tribes to be included in the Manbij operation leave the Syrian Democratic Forces, which is under the control of the PYD, and undergo “background checks.”

Turkey also demanded the U.S. increase its support for the groups Turkey supports at Marea, which is located on the southwestern end of the 98-kilometer border, with airstrikes.