The YPG couldn't deny recruiting child soldiers in northern Syria and Ankara blasted the UN for taking "a terrorist organisation with blood on its hands as an interlocutor to address this problem."
In an unprecedented move, the United Nations signed a deal with an international fugitive and notorious YPG militant Ferhad Abdi Sahin, who has an Interpol Red Notice warrant for playing a crucial role in the armed group that is affiliated with the PKK, a recognised terrorist organisation by the US, Turkey, the EU and NATO.
The subject of the negotiations — held at the UN headquarters in Geneva on June 29 — was that the YPG should stop recruiting child soldiers in Syria and dispatching them to the frontlines under the command of its proxy group called the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).
The meeting drew criticism from Ankara with the Turkish foreign ministry slamming the UN for entertaining the YPG and its representative Sahin, who operates under his nom de guerre Mazlum Abdi.
While the Turkish foreign ministry criticised the UN for taking "a terrorist organisation with blood on its hands as an interlocutor to address this problem," it also pointed out that the agreement proved that the YPG committed "against children the gravest violations of international law and international humanitarian law, including the forceful recruitment."
Turkey's political leaders, government officials and political experts have already voiced concerns about the Western bloc's attempts to normalise the YPG and present it as a political alternative in northern Syria.
“The person, who was called for signing ceremony, has long been a well-known member of the PKK terror group and has been on Turkey’s wanted list, so it’s clear that the UN commission knows what it’s doing and is purposely choosing a particular time to reduce reactions,” said Serhat Erkmen, a Turkish expert on Syria.
“As a result, this effort is part of a continuing Western policy, which has long tried to bring legitimacy [to the terror group] to create [a political] actor [out of the YPG],” Erkmen added, speaking to TRT World.
Erkmen said the US and its allies are making efforts to create an autonomous region in northern Syria run by the YPG or PKK leadership.
“Not only the US but also other Western countries support this project,” Erkmen said.
Turkey has always had concerns that US support of the YPG could transition into an autonomous Kurdish region following the Syrian war, just as the foundations for the concept of semi-autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) was established in northern Iraq after the 1990-1991 Gulf War.
Cevat Ones, the former deputy director of Turkish national intelligence agency, has maintained in previous interviews with TRT World that for Washington's long term "imperialist" Syria policy, the YPG is an "important political instrument."
With the UN officials meeting the YPG militant Sahin, Ankara reads the contact as yet another Western effort to popularise the terror group despite its poor human rights record in the region and its organisational mentor the PKK having waged a war against Turkey, claiming several thousand lives in the past three decades.
Sahin was part of the PKK terror group in the 1990s. He's reportedly close to Abdullah Ocalan, the founding leader of the PKK, who is currently serving a jail term in Turkey, and was sent to Syria during the initial stages of the civil war in the country.
Given the PKK's history of engaging in violence and heavy-handedness, Erkmen said the group cannot be trusted on the promise of discontinuing the recruitment of child soldiers.
“I do not think [the YPG] will follow the agreement. They have already forcefully recruited a lot of children under 18,” Erkmen said.