Chief advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and columnist İlnur Çevik has warned that Turkish jets may accidentally hit US soldiers in northern Syria at a time when the US has voiced unease with Turkish airstrikes in the region.
Last week the US expressed “deep concern” over Turkish airstrikes that killed about two dozen Kurdish fighters in Syria and Iraq.
The US-backed Popular Protection Units (YPG), fighting against Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), said their positions were hit multiple times.
Turkey regards the YPG as linked to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984.
Speaking to Chinese radio CRI FM on Wednesday, Çevik was asked what he thought about “the US acting like a shield to the PKK in the event of Turkish attacks,” he said: “Their [US forces] wandering there does not mean anything. If those PKK terrorists continue their attacks in Turkey, you know they are infiltrating from northern Iraq. … What happened to DAESH [another acronym for ISIL]? We went there all of a sudden one night and found ourselves in al-Bab. The same thing is valid for northern Syria. If they go further, ours won’t care about US armored [forces] being there. Who knows, several rockets may also hit them accidentally.”
When the host of the program told Çevik that his remarks were a bit heavy, he replied, “What are we supposed to do when they do this?”
US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said last Tuesday: “We are very concerned, deeply concerned that Turkey conducted airstrikes earlier today in northern Syria as well as northern Iraq without proper coordination either with the United States or the broader global coalition to defeat IS [another acronym for ISIL].”