– President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Wednesday criticized U.S. presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s remarks on arming Syrian Kurds as “unfortunate.”
“Clinton said, ‘We will continue to support the PYD and YPG.’ This is a very unfortunate statement,” Erdogan said at a ceremony for appointing judges and prosecutors in Ankara, reported Anadolu Agency.
When asked Sunday how she would handle Syria if elected president, Clinton said she “would also consider arming the Kurds.” While she did not mention the PYD – the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU – or its armed wing, the YPG, her remarks have been interpreted in Ankara as referring to the terrorist group.
The PKK has fought a three-decade war against Turkey in which more than 40,000 people have died.
Turkey has repeatedly said that arming the PKK/PYD is a source of concern, as the terrorist group poses a threat to Turkey.
“This should not be done,” said Erdogan. “Because the sensibilities of the region are different. Such a step cannot be taken in a period when there are these sensibilities.”
He continued, “Are not you aware that you cause the deaths of 600,000 people through the arms that you give? Where is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights? Where is the law? Where is the importance of human life? No one places importance on this.”
He attributed Clinton’s remarks to “political inexperience.”
Erdogan also reiterated that Turkey will not allow the formation of a “terror corridor” in northern Syria.
On the state purges of Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETO)-linked members in the wake of the July 15 defeated coup, Erdogan said a total of 3,456 FETO-linked judges, prosecutors, and top jurists have been dismissed so far, while 198 judges and prosecutors have been reinstated.
Erdogan thanked the assembled jurists for their hard work in the wake of the coup attempt.
He told the new judges and prosecutors that after starting their duties, they should make decisions according to the law and by listening to their conscience on all issues, especially FETO.
“You should make your decisions according to your personal convictions within the boundaries of the Constitution, statute, and law, whatever your personal belief, ideology or loyalty,” he added.
Turkey accuses FETO, which is led by U.S.-based Fetullah Gulen, of organizing the defeated coup as well as a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.
The July 15 coup attempt left 241 people martyred and some 2,200 injured.