Turkish PM criticizes Clinton over promise to arm Syrian Kurds
ANKARAPrime Minister Binali Yıldırım has criticized U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for promising to arm Syrian Kurdish fighters.
“Clinton has said she would support Kurds in the region, terrorist organizations, with arms if she is elected. What does that mean? Is the U.S. not our ally? What does it mean to support them with arms?” Yıldırım told his ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) weekly parliamentary group meeting on Oct. 11.
“They supposedly fight against Daesh [an Arabic anonym of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant - ISIL] by arming the [People’s Protection Units] YPG, which is an offshoot of the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] PKK,” the prime minister added.
Yıldırım stressed that fighting against one terrorist organization by using another terrorist organization was “unacceptable.”
On Oct. 9, U.S. presidential candidate Clinton said for the second time that she would consider arming the Kurds, in order to hasten the ISIL fall in Raqqa.
“I would also consider arming the Kurds. The Kurds have been our best partners in Syria, as well as Iraq,” she said during a presidential debate.
Turkey is ready to do “whatever is necessary on the east of Euphrates [River] if terrorist acts continue there too,” he vowed.
Yıldırım pledged to secure “every span” of the 911-kilometer-long border with Syria.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu warned that the U.S. would become a "terror-supporting country" if it cooperated with terrorists.
ISIL is at a stalemate in Syria and Iraq, so the group is trying to expand its area by targeting Turkey, the prime minister said, noting that Ankara’s struggle against the group had contributed to the retreat of the group in Syria and Iraq.
As part of the “Euphrates Shield” operation in northern Syria, Turkey and the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA) had secured a 1,000-square-kilometer area, Yıldırım said, claiming that Turkey had secured its border with Syria and prevented the infiltration of suicide bombings by terrorist organizations “on a vast scale.”
Ankara considers the YPG as the Syrian affiliate of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The YPG, a part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance, has been a partner in the U.S.-led campaign against ISIL in Syria. Turkey insists the YPG forces should retreat back to the east of Euphrates River.