Turkey urges US to make final decision on status of YPG

Turkey confused by US political position regarding terrorist group PKK’s Syrian arm PYD and its militant wing YPG after US top diplomat John Kerry tells Turkish counterpart YPG cannot be trusted

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaks during a news briefing in Tbilisi, Georgia, Feb. 19, 2016.

Updated Feb 24, 2016

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said that the US administration is making conflicting statements about the YPG, the militant wing of PYD, stating that his US counterpart John Kerry told him on Thursday that the group is not reliable.

Cavusoglu, who was speaking in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi while on an official visit on Friday and whose comments were carried live on Turkish state broadcaster TRT Haber, said Washington should break ties with PYD and YPG-allied groups, suggesting that the use of such groups in the fight against DAESH is a sign of weakness in the US-led coalition.

"My friend US Secretary of State [John] Kerry said the YPG cannot be trusted," Cavusoglu said.

"When you look at some statements coming from [the United States of] America, conflicting and confused statements are still coming.... We were glad to hear from John Kerry yesterday that his views on the YPG have partly changed," he recounted.

Turkey considers the PYD to be the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, which is recognised as a terrorist organisation by Turkey, the US, the EU and NATO. Turkey has long been confronted with armed attacks in its southeastern and eastern regions by the PKK.

However, the US administration regards the PYD as an ally in the fight against DAESH - a position which was reiterated by US State Department spokesman John Kirby in his daily briefing in Washington on Thursday.

"Resorting to terrorist groups like the YPG in the fight against DAESH in Syria above all is a sign of weakness," Cavusoglu said during his latest speech, stressing that "Everyone must end this mistake. In particular, our ally the United States must end this mistake immediately."

Turkey claims the YPG works with members of the outlawed PKK and was behind a car bombing in Ankara on Wednesday that killed 29 people. However, the United States has said it is not in a position to confirm or deny Turkey's accusation.

Salih Muslim - who is the head of the PYD - has denied that his group carried out the attack in the Turkish capital, saying it did not consider the Turkish state as an enemy. But Erdogan, speaking on live television, dismissed that position on Thursday.

"Even though those who head the PYD and PKK say this has no connection with them, based on the information obtained by our interior minister and our intelligence agencies, it has been identified that this attack was carried out by them," he said.

The Turkish authorities have so far detained 17 people in connection with the bombing and there is evidence they were linked to the outlawed PKK, Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency reported, citing sources from the Ankara Public Prosecutor's Office.

The security forces separately caught two people in a car loaded with 500 kg of explosives on Thursday evening in Dicle district of Turkey’s southeastern Diyarbakir province, security sources said. 

TRTWorld, Reuters