Ankara says does not accept US support for YPG

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Turkish Presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın AFP Photo

Turkish Presidency spokesperson İbrahim Kalın on Saturday said Turkey would not accept US support for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, news website t24 reported.

“We cannot ever accept US support for the YPG. There is no change in our position. It will be the same when operation on Raqqa is finished. This double standard in counterterrorism can in no way be accepted,” said Kalın during a press conference in Ankara that focused on President Recep Tayyip Edoğan’s phone calls on Friday with US President Donald Trump and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

Regarding recent Turkish retaliation targeting YPG militants in Syria, Kalın said: “We take all measures to protect our national security.”

Kalın said Erdoğan and Putin talked about an upcoming Syria meeting in Astana.

Brett McGurk, the US envoy for the international coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), was in Turkey on Friday for talks amid Turkey’s frustration with a decision by Washington to arm Syrian Kurdish militia in the fight against ISIL.

On Thursday Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported that the US has sent a total of 468 trucks of weapons to the YPG in the midst of statements from Ankara about a possible cross-border operation into areas in northern Syria controlled by Kurdish forces.

German statements unacceptable
The spokesperson also strongly criticized statements from Germany about President Erdoğan’s program during the G20 summit on July 7-8 in Hamburg.

“We have difficulty understanding Germany’s negative position about the activities of our president while allowing terrorist organizations, notably the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party], to conduct protests,” said Kalın.

“We don’t find any of the statements made by Germany to be acceptable.”

Kalın said on Thursday that recent remarks by German politicians objecting to a political rally planned by Erdoğan in July were provocative, malevolent and indicative of double standards in Europe.

On Thursday Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) leader Martin Schulz called for a ban on an Erdoğan rally in Hamburg and criticized the imprisonment of politicians and journalists in Turkey.

In the meantime, Sigmar Gabriel, the German foreign minister, also voiced his disapproval of a political rally by Erdoğan and implied that Chancellor Angela Merkel was of the same view.

German officials are concerned about increased tension and clashes between pro-Erdoğan supporters and Kurdish nationalists around the G20 summit.

Relations between Turkey and Germany have deteriorated over the past year due to the blocking of a campaign in Germany for a referendum in Turkey in April, Erdoğan’s repeated emphasis on reintroducing the death penalty, Germany’s granting of asylum to military officers and diplomats who are accused of a failed coup attempt in Turkey and human rights abuses in the country, including the arrest of two German-Turkish journalists.

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