Turkey slams a US decision to arm the YPG, considered by Ankara to be a terrorist organisation due to its affiliation with the PKK, which Washington also considers a terror group.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaking in Montenegro said supplying arms to the YPG could be a threat to Turkey.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu speaking in Montenegro said supplying arms to the YPG could be a threat to Turkey.

Every weapon obtained by the YPG is a threat to Turkey, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday. Cavusoglu was voicing Ankara's strong opposition to a decision by the Trump administration to arm what Turkey considers a terrorist organisation in its fight against Daesh.

US officials said on Tuesday that President Donald Trump has approved supplying arms to the YPG to support an operation to retake the city of Raqqa, the de facto capital of Daesh in Syria.

TRT World's Abubakr al Shamahi has more from Gaziantep near the Turkey-Syria border.

"Both the PKK and the YPG are terrorist organisations"

Cavusoglu was speaking on a visit to Montenegro.

"Both the PKK and the YPG are terrorist organisations and they are no different, apart from their names. Every weapon seized by them is a threat to Turkey," the foreign minister said.

"Within the SDF, Arabs and the YPG should be distinguished and Arab forces should be the ones entering Raqqa."

Cavusoglu said the United States knew Turkey's stance and that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would reiterate it when he meets Trump in Washington next week.

Earlier, Turkey called on the United States to "rectify" its policy of supporting the YPG. In its first official response to Trump's shift from his predecessor Barack Obama's policy of muted support for the YPG, Turkey's Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli restated Ankara's position that supporting the YPG was not "beneficial" in the fight against terrorism.

"We cannot accept the presence of terrorist organisations that would threaten the future of the Turkish state," Canikli said.

"We hope the US administration will put a stop to this wrong and turn back from it. Such a policy will not be beneficial, you can't be in the same bed as terrorist organisations. We expect this mistake to be rectified."

The YPG is the armed wing of the PYD, what Turkey considers to be the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist group by the US, Turkey and Europe. Despite its terrorist links, the US insists the YPG is a valuable partner in the fight against Daesh in northern Syria.

The fight against Daesh

Turkey's NATO ally has sought to stress that it saw arming the YPG as necessary to ensure a victory in Raqqa, a Daesh-stronghold from which the group has launched attacks against the West.

Ankara wants Washington to switch support for the planned assault on Raqqa from the YPG to the opposition Free Syrian Army (FSA) that Turkey has trained and led against Daesh for the past year.

Turkey launched "Operation Euphrates Shield" in Syria last year with the FSA to tackle Daesh on its border.

Turkey fears that advances by the YPG in northern Syria will inflame the three-decade insurgency the PKK has waged in Turkey. Some 40,000 people have died since the PKK first took up arms against the state in 1984.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies