Late on Saturday, the Foreign Minister of Turkey, Mevlut Cavusoglu said that the United States’ support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia is a “big mistake”, calling it a reason for tensed relations between both the NATO allies.
According to the media reports, Cavusoglu, who is in the United States on an official visit, mentioned that he intends to bring issues with his US counterpart Mike Pompeo, during the discussion of bilateral relations on November 20.
The US-Turkey relations have been deteriorating over certain issues of the past— an American pastor’s case in Turkey, the US policy in Syria, and Turkey’s call for the extradition of US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom it accuses of a 2016 failed coup.
The tensions are on a verge to grow because Turkey is now concerned about Washington’s support for the YPG, which it deems an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) pursuing a decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil.
The Foreign Minister said, “Despite knowing and acknowledging that (the YPG ) is the same organization (as the PKK), seeing this cooperation as necessary is really a big mistake.”
On the other hand, Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar on Sunday said that he had also mentioned it to the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford that Turkey expects the United States to stop its support for the YPG as soon as possible.
According to the reports, Akar said, “We reiterated our warnings and stated that we expected our US counterparts to take the necessary measures and end their relationship with the YPG Militia, which is no different than the PKK, as soon as possible.”
“We reminded them that the United States, our ally and strategic partner here (Syria), and US soldiers cooperating with such an organization (YPG) cannot be acceptable in any way,” he said.
Last month, the tensions between the NATO allies have eased slightly, after the release of pastor Andrew Brunson and the beginning of joint patrols in Syria’s Manbij as part of the agreed plan of action by the two countries in June.
In the same month, the two countries also lifted mutual sanctions against top officials that were imposed in response to Brunson’s detention and arrest.
However, with Turkey’s demand for US to stop its support to the YPG militia, the tensions between both the countries are back to where they were. For the United States, the issue is not just about losing the country’s credibility, but also one of its NATO allies. As the Turkish Foreign Minister is about to meet Pompeo, the hopes are high for US to take a wise decision.
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