Turkish defense minister says country repeatedly conveyed discomfort to US on planned observation points in northern Syria
Turkey has repeatedly conveyed its “discomfort” to the U.S. officials over their country’s planned observation points in northern Syria, Turkish defense minister said on Saturday.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency following a ceremony to mark Turkey’s Teachers Day, Hulusi Akar said he spoke with Gen. Joseph Dunford, the U.S. joint chiefs of staff chairman, last Sunday on the sidelines of the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada about the planned U.S. observation points on the Syrian border.
“We have stated that the observation points to be established by the U.S. troops on the Syrian border will have a very negative impact […] and in the course of our discussions we expressed that it could lead to a perception that ‘U.S. soldiers are somehow protecting terrorist YPG members and shield them’,” he added.
Akar said that these practices would make the already complex situation in the region “much more complex” and added that there is no need for that.
The defense minister said the Turkish Armed Forces are taking all necessary measures to protect the country from all kind of threats, including from beyond the borders.
“We expect that our U.S. allies cut their relations with the terrorist YPG, who are no different from the PKK, as soon as possible,” he added.
The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, a terrorist group recognized by Turkey, the U.S., and EU, which in its 30-year terror campaign has taken some 40,000 lives.
The U.S. has claimed the YPG/PKK is an “ally” in the fight against Daesh, over Turkey’s objections that you cannot use one terrorist group to fight another.
Turkey has repeatedly cited evidence that the YPG is no different from the PKK.