Reuters, AFP misquote President Erdogan’s words on PYD, YPG

Reuters and AFP news agencies misquote Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks on Turkey’s reaction to PYD, YPG activities in northern Syria

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during the 2th local administrators meeting at the Presidential complex in Ankara, Turkey on Feb. 17, 2016.

Britain’s Reuters and France’s Agence France Presse, two of the world's most influential news agencies, have misquoted President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent words on Turkey’s response against PYD activities in northern Syria.

Erdogan said in a speech on Wednesday in that Turkey has no intention to stop shelling the PYD and its militant wing the YPG after several western countries, including the US and France, urged the Turkish government to end its shelling of the groups in northern Syria.

However, Reuters quoted Erdogan’s words as saying that Turkey has "No intention to stop retaliatory shelling against Syrian Kurds," in a recent message by its official Twitter account following Erdogan’s speech.

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

As a result, the Turkish government considers the PYD and YPG to also be terrorist organisations, which do not have the right to claim to represent Syrian Kurds at all.

Moreover, Turkey has repeatedly stated that Syrian Kurds should be a part of the peace process to develop comprehensive plan to end the civil war in Syria, but it firmly stands against the participation of the PYD in the Geneva talks.

"Without Syrian Kurds, the table cannot be complete. What we are against is the YPG," Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told CNN's Christiane Amanpour in an interview on Jan. 25.

Political forces who treat the PYD as a legitimate interlocutor "do not live in the reality of the region [northern Syria]" where PYD forces have been oppressing people - including Kurds - if they hold a different opinion other from the group, Davutoglu said during the interview.

He also said this week that the government previously warned the YPG many times to withdraw from an area which it had recently captured in northern Syria before the Turkish shelling began, however, it failed to comply with Turkey's demands and instead shelled Turkish military outposts near the Turkish border.

Furthermore, Erdogan said on Wednesday that Turkey will not allow the formation of a new Qandil on its southeastern border, referring to the Qandil mountains of northern Iraq, where the PKK's main headquarters is based.

"Nobody should doubt that. We will not allow the formation of a new 'Qandil' on our southern border," Erdogan said.

AFP, meanwhile, stated "Erdogan vows not to allow Kurdish stronghold in northern Syria," in a recent post on its official twitter account, also overlooking the distinction the president draws between Syria's Kurds and the YPG and PYD.  

More than 300 security officers have died in PKK terror attacks in Turkey since the group’s umbrella organisation, the KCK, unilaterally ended a two-and-a-half-year-long ceasefire with the government on July 11 last year and threatened Turkey with attacks.

TRTWorld and agencies