The head of US special forces said that renaming the YPG and its political wing the PYD as Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was done to give the group a voice in Syria talks.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking at a press conference at Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, before departing for an official trip to Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, on July 23, 2017.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaking at a press conference at Ataturk Airport, Istanbul, before departing for an official trip to Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, on July 23, 2017.

Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday said friends should not deceive each other, referring to recent remarks made by a US general over the rebranding of the YPG/PYD as Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

"We know who is who very well. Both are the same. [...] What really matters is not changing the name plate, but what is inside," Erdogan said
at a press conference at Istanbul's Ataturk Airport before departing for Saudi Arabia as part of his two-day Gulf tour.

"Friends do not deceive each other," Erdogan stressed, referring to Washington.

The head of US special forces Army General Raymond Thomas said Friday that rebranding the YPG/PYD to SDF was done to give the group a voice in Syria talks and to assuage Ankara.

The YPG is the military wing of the PYD, a Syrian affiliate of the PKK, which Turkey, the US and EU consider a terrorist organisation.

The US has supported the YPG/PYD along with several other militia groups under the umbrella of the SDF, long vexing Ankara.

The US views the SDF as a "reliable partner" in its fight against Daesh and continues to provide it with arms and equipment against strong objections from Turkey, given its terrorist links.

The PKK has waged an armed campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years that has led to the deaths of more than 40,000 people.

Turkey-German ties

Erdogan also spoke about the ties between Ankara and Berlin which have strained in recent months.

Turkish leaders slammed Germany for turning a blind eye to the activities of outlawed groups and terrorist organisations hostile to Turkey.

Moreover, a Turkish court had ruled on Tuesday that six suspects, including German national Peter Steudtner and Amnesty International Turkey Director Idil Eser, would be remanded in custody, while four others were released.

The suspects were allegedly planning provocative events meant to fuel unrest across Turkey similar to the 2013 Gezi Park protests.

Erdogan said Turkey will do take every possible action against those who are found involved in plotting against Turkey.

"Nobody has right to interfere in domestic affairs of Turkey," Erdogan emphasised.

He also said that many Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) members are moving freely in Germany.

"The names of those were already given [to Germany]," Erdogan said.

He added that Germany does not extradite these FETO members although there is extradition agreement between Ankara and Berlin.

Ankara accuses FETO of masterminding the defeated coup bid in Turkey last year in which some 250 people died. It has a large network in Germany, which is home to more than 3 million Turkish immigrants.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies