Turkey protests US' treatment of Ankara, PYD on equal terms

Turkish Foreign Ministry criticises US' statement which urged both Turkey and PYD to step back from armed confrontation, following Ankara’s bombing of YPG targets in northern Syria near its border

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Tanju Bilgic, informs the media during a press conference in Ankara on Feb. 15, 2016.

Turkish Foreign Ministry has strongly protested the United States’ recent stance, which implied to treat both Turkey and PYD on equal terms, following Turkey’s bombing of YPG targets in northern Syria, near its border.

“We have been astonished by [US] statements which have treated [US State Department's spokesman John] Kirby’s ally Turkey and a terrorist organisation [PYD] in equal terms,” said Turkey’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Tanju Bilgic, speaking in a press conference in Ankara on Monday.

Kirby urged both Turkey and PYD to step back, saying they should focus instead on tackling a "common threat" of DAESH who controls large parts of Syria.

“W‎e have urged Syrian Kurdish and other forces affiliated with the YPG not to take advantage of a confused situation by seizing new territory," Kirby said in a statement.

"We have also seen reports of artillery fire from the Turkish side of the border and urged Turkey to cease such fires," he continued.

YPG is the militant wing of PYD, which Turkey considers the Syrian extension of the PKK and the US considers it as an ally against DAESH.

Turkey has long been confronted with armed attacks in its southeastern and eastern regions by the PKK, which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, and the EU.

Bilgic said that Turkey has conveyed its strong resentment to US officials following Kirby’s recent remarks on Turkey and PYD.

Turkey also summoned the US ambassador on Feb. 9, after Kirby said that unlike Turkey, the US does not recognise the PYD as a terrorist organisation.

Turkey's disquiet has been heightened by the tens of thousands of people fleeing to the Turkish border, after recent attacks by Russian-backed Syrian regime forces and its allies in Aleppo's northern countryside, cutting opposition supply lines to Turkey and swelling refugee numbers in the area to 100,000.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said on Monday that Turkey will not allow the northern Syrian town of Azaz -across from the Turkish border- to fall under the control of PYD.

“We will not let Azaz fall. The YPG will not be able to cross to the west of the Euphrates [River] and east of Afrin,” said Davutoglu, speaking on his plane en route to an official visit to Ukraine.

TRTWorld and agencies