Turkish FM pleased US convinced of ‘PYD’s unreliability’
AA PhotoTurkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has expressed his elation after his U.S. counterpart apparently agreed that Syria’s Kurds are “unreliable,” while calling on Washington to display maturity by correcting its “mistake” about their relationship with groups that are defined as “terrorists” by Ankara.
But Çavuşoğlu also accused Washington on Feb. 19 of making conflicting statements about the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the wake of a Feb. 17 bombing in Ankara that authorities have accused Syrian Kurds of committing.
Radiating with pleasure, however, Çavuşoğlu said U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry had told him Syrian Kurds could not be trusted. “My friend Kerry said the YPG cannot be trusted,” Çavuşoğlu said, referring to a telephone conversation with Kerry that took place on Feb. 18. “When you look at some statements coming from America, conflicting and confused statements are still coming.... We were glad at least to hear from John Kerry yesterday that his views on the YPG have partly changed,” he said.
His statement came as part of a whirlwind chain of statements delivered by Turkish officials addressing Washington since a Feb. 17 car bombing targeting a military convoy in Ankara that killed 28 people. The Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have worked overtime to convince the world that the attack was committed by the YPG, which is battling jihadists and other groups backed by Turkey in Syria.
“Resorting to terrorist groups like the YPG in the fight against Daesh in Syria is above all a sign of weakness,” Çavuşoğlu said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamist group. “Everyone must stop this mistake. In particular our ally the United States must stop this mistake immediately. Accepting a mistake is a merit,” he said at a news conference during an official visit to the Georgian capital Tbilisi.
His statement followed remarks by Kirby who said on Feb. 18 that it was still an “open question” who had carried out the Ankara attack.
“We’re in no position to confirm or deny the assertions made by the Turkish government with respect to responsibility,” said Kirby.
Speaking in Istanbul just a few hours after Çavuşoğlu on the same day, Erdoğan refused to be drawn into a debate with Kirby, who has angered Turkey by repeatedly defending U.S. support for the YPG in recent days.
“He [Kirby] is not my interlocutor. I am going to speak to Obama at five [1500 GMT],” Erdoğan said.
Noting that they had conveyed evidence and information regarding the YPG’s alleged involvement in the Ankara attack with the United States, Erdoğan added: “Kerry called Mr. Çavuşoğlu and shared the YPG’s mistakes with our foreign minister. It appears to me that they have begun understanding some things at the moment. I will share these with Obama during our phone call.”
In Tbilisi, meanwhile, Çavuşoğlu resorted to a metaphor in a bid to warn Washington against cooperating with a “terrorist” group.
Relying upon other “terrorist organizations” in the fight against terrorist organizations such as Daesh and al-Nusra is the biggest mistake, he said. “Getting involved in any kind of cooperation with terror organizations is more dangerous that approaching the wolf in the Little Red Riding Hood tale,” he said.