Turkey on Friday rebuffed a “slaughter of Kurds” remark made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the state-run Anadolu news agency reported.
“We reject both the style and content of US Secretary of State Pompeo’s statements that he gave yesterday in an interview to a website regarding our country with respect to Syria,” Hami Aksoy, spokesman for Turkey’s Foreign Ministry, said in a statement.
Aksoy’s remarks came a day after Pompeo, in an interview with conservative outlet Newsmax, addressed the US withdrawal from Syria and mentioned what he called “the importance of ensuring that the Turks don’t slaughter the Kurds, the protection of religious minorities there in Syria. All of those things are still part of the American mission set.”
Pompeo confusing the People’s Protection Units (YPG) — the target of a planned Turkish military offensive in Syria — with “the Kurds” shows a “troubling” lack of information, said Aksoy.
Ankara sees the YPG as an offshoot of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey.
“Turkey will resolutely continue to fight the terrorist organizations, which threaten Syria’s political unity and territorial integrity, and pose an existential threat to its national security,” Aksoy said.
Turkey has long objected to the US viewing the YPG fighters as allies in fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).