Turkey calls on US to take steps against PKK

Merve Aydogan

ANKARA: Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin on Saturday called on Washi-ngton to “take steps regarding both the YPG and FETO”.

Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU. Its more than three-decade long campaign against Turkey, has killed nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.

In a column for local Daily Sabah titled:

“What does Turkey expect from the US?” Kalin said the meetings between “Turkish and U.S. officials should be turned into an opportunity to overcome the crisis of trust – a crisis that has emerged as a result of the U.S. policy of supporting the PKK’s Syrian affiliate…PYD and inaction on the FETO network in the U.S.”

Kalin in the column also reasserted that Turkey’s recently launched operation against PYD/PKK terrorists “continues as planned” and reassured the “goal is to clear northern Syria from all terrorist elements including Daesh, the PKK, PYD, YPG, al-Qaida and others”.

Turkey on Jan. 20 launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin, northwestern Syria.

Criticizing the “stakeholders involved in the seven-year Syrian war”, Kalin said “their actions on the ground tell a different story”. He wrote: “Since Barack Obama’s presidency, the U.S. administration has said that once the Daesh threat was eliminated, they would no longer support the YPG. Now under pressure from Ankara, they also say that they would start disengaging the PKK’s Syrian branch.

“Renaming the YPG as the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) has not fooled anyone. As a matter of fact, U.S. intelligence services refer to the YPG as the PKK’s militia force in Syria.”

The U.S. has called the PYD/PKK a “reliable ally” in its fight against Daesh, despite strong protests by Turkey. Adding that it is time to work with allies and not terrorist groups, he said:

“The Obama administration made a strategic mistake and President Donald Trump’s administration has continued on this misguided track.”

Kalin stated that “the U.S. support for the YPG has created a serious crisis of trust,” and thus, “to overcome this crisis of trust, the U.S. administration has to take steps regarding both the YPG and FETO”.

“Otherwise, a decades-long relationship and alliance will be damaged irreparably,” he added. “The U.S. should start the process of disengaging from the YPG and move it out of Manbij and to east of Euphrates. Turkey and the U.S. forces working with local people can insure the Manbij area,” he said.

Kalin ended his remarks saying “there is much to gain from a constructive partnership on numerous bilateral and regional issues, but this can happen only when the U.S. administration realizes the seriousness of the PKK, YPG and FETO issues for Turkey’s national security.”

According to the Turkish General Staff, the ongoing operation aims to establish security and stability along Turkey’s borders and the region as well as protect Syrians from terrorist oppression and cruelty.

The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria’s territorial integrity, it said. The military also said only terror targets were being destroyed and that “utmost care” is being taken to not harm civilians. (AA)