Ankara calls on new US administration to review YPG policy

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Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım.

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım called on the incoming administration in Washington to review US support for the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), saying they are using American weapons in Turkey.

“We do not approve of the position of the US, our strategic partner and NATO ally, because we know that terrorists in Turkey use American weapons transferred by means of the YPG/PYD [Democratic Union Party],” said Yıldırım after visiting soldiers injured during clashes in Syria in the border city of Kilis on Saturday.

“Therefore we think the new [US] administration should take this fact into consideration and work with its ally and friend Turkey in fighting against the terrorist organization instead of working with another terrorist organization,” added Yıldırım, in reference to US cooperation with the YPG against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria.

Regarding Turkey’s operation against ISIL in the Syrian city of al-Bab, Yıldırım said that due to 6,000 civilians in the city, Turkish troops were proceeding with care.

“That’s the reason why it takes time. The operation is continuing in coordination with Russia.”

Turkey has lost 42 soldiers during Operation Euphrates Shield, which was launched on Aug. 24 against ISIL in Syria.

On Tuesday President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the US-led coalition forces of supporting terrorist organizations ISIL and the YPG.

“They were accusing us of supporting Daesh [ISIL]. Now they have all disappeared. To the contrary, they give support to terrorist organizations, including Daesh, the PYD, the YPG. All are explicit. We have registered documents of everything with photographs and videos,” said Erdoğan.

Criticizing the coalition forces for failing to keep promises they made about helping Turkey fight against ISIL in Syria, Erdoğan said: “Either they support us or they don’t, but we will continue on our path decisively. We will not deviate from that path.”

The US on Tuesday rejected Erdoğan’s remark that the US-led Global Coalition to Counter ISIL supports terrorist organizations in Syria including ISIL, saying it was “ludicrous.”

“It’s ludicrous, to be honest. No basis for truth, as you can all imagine. I don’t think anyone could look at our actions on the ground leading the coalition in northern Syria, in Iraq, and say anything other than that we’re 100 percent behind the defeat, destruction of Daesh,” said State Department Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner.

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