Erdoğan’s spokesman slams CENTCOM for sharing statement of Syrian Kurd militia

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Turkish Presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin holds a press conference at Presidental Complex in Ankara.

İbrahim Kalın, spokesperson for Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, slammed the US military on Thursday after it posted a tweet sharing a statement from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) saying it has no links with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Reacting to a tweet from the US Central Command’s official Twitter account, @CENTCOM, on Wednesday, Kalın said on his Twitter account: “Is this a joke or has @CENTCOM lost its senses? Do you believe anyone will buy this? The US must stop trying to legitimize a terrorist group.”

In the post, CENTCOM said “the SDF confirms that it has no affiliation or ties to PKK” and attached the SDF statement as a picture in the post.

“We as the Kurdish, Arabian, Turkmen, Assyrian and Syrian factions under the umbrella of the Syrian Democratic forces we are confirming that; our force is not part of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), which some regional governments are claiming to be but we are considering our self as a part of Syria nation and Syrian land,” the SDF statement in English said.

The SDF mainly consists of People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia, which Turkey claims is an extension of the PKK in Syria.

During a daily press briefing in the State Department on Tuesday, Deputy Spokesperson Mark Toner said that all Syrians, including the YPG, must take part in the process to bring peace to the country.

Toner said that the YPG is a force on the ground and is a representative group in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and that their voice will need to be heard in any kind of long-term solution to the situation in Syria.

Trump’s Secretary of State nominee Tillerson: US committed to support Syrian Kurds

While Turkey hopes that the incoming US administration under Donald Trump will re-think its policy in Syria and stop providing support to Kurdish YPG militia fighters, Trumps’s US Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson said during a Senate hearing on Wednesday that the US will re-commit” to supporting Syrian Kurds.

While describing Syrian Kurds as “the greatest allies” of the US, Tillerson said “defeating ISIS must be the foremost priority in the Middle East” for the US.

Tillerson also underlined that the US must re-engage with President Erdoğan and added that “in the absence of American leadership, [Erdoğan] got pretty nervous about his situation and he turned to who was next available.”

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