Chief of Turkish general staff raises Ankara’s concerns over YPG during US visit

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ISTANBUL, TURKEY - NOVEMBER 20: Chief of the General Staff of the Turkish Armed Forces Hulusi Akar, delivers a speech during Defence and Security Committee (DSC) as part of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly's (NATO-PA) 62nd Annual session in Istanbul, Turkey on November 20, 2016. NATO-PA annual session takes place between 19th and 21st of November 2016 in Istanbul. AFP Photo

Turkey’s Chief of General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar expressed Ankara’s concerns about Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militia in Syria during bilateral meetings on the sidelines of a conference in the US on Tuesday.

According to a statement from the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) on Wednesday, Akar stressed that the YPG is linked to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party, on the sidelines of the Counter-Violent Extremist Organizations Conference at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

Akar claimed that images which emerged after the Raqqa operation in which a banner of jailed PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan was seen unfurled after the YPG took control of the city confirm that they are part of the same organization.

Defense chiefs from 73 coalition nations attended the conference.

During a press conference on Tuesday Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Washington stood with Turkey when asked about the YPG raising the banner bearing Öcalan’s face in Raqqa. He also underlined that the US recognizes the PKK as a terrorist organization and shares Turkish authorities’ descriptions regarding the outlawed group.

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