Turkish ambassador slams US senator for referring to YPG as 'closest ally'

DAILY SABAH
ANKARA
Published 25.01.2019 00:07

A senior Turkish diplomat said Thursday the PKK's Syrian affiliate People's Protection Units (YPG) does not represent Syrian Kurds while also criticizing U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez, who has called the terrorist organization their "closest ally" in Syria.

Turkey's Washington Ambassador Serdar Kılıç condemned Menendez from his Twitter account, saying that YPG is a Syrian branch of the PKK, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by the U.S.

"For your information, the YPG/PYD [Democratic Union Party, a PKK-affiliate] does not represent the Syrian Kurds. Ask the 300,000 Syrian Kurds who fled from their atrocities and took refuge in Turkey. They still can't return to their homes in Syria, because your ‘allies' will not let them," Kılıç noted.

Menendez on Wednesday criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's abrupt decision to pull out U.S. troops from Syria, saying it will result in a "slaughter of the Kurds."

"He's leading them to slaughter," Menendez, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on CNN. "By erratically pulling U.S. troops out of Syria, the Trump Administration will abandon the Kurds, our closest allies in this fight."

Responding to Menendez's claims, Kılıç said, "Mr. Senator, one would expect a U.S. senator to be more knowledgeable on such a sensitive topic. What you define so easily as ‘Kurds, our closest allies' are in fact the YPG/PYD, the Syrian branch of the PKK, a terrorist group recognized as such by the U.S."

By declaring victory against the Daesh terrorist group, U.S. President Donald Trump announced last month that the United States would withdraw its troops from Syria over a period of time.

Although Trump later said there is no immediate schedule for withdrawal.

"We want to protect the Kurds, nevertheless, we want to protect the Kurds but I don't want to be in Syria forever," Trump stressed on Jan. 2.

Ankara has

firmly stood behind its words that the YPG is in fact an extension of the PKK and does not represent the Kurdish people in Syria. The YPG's ultimate aim is to establish an autonomous region in northern Syria by connecting the northwestern Afrin canton to the Kobani and Jazeera cantons in the northeast, which would provide the group access to the Mediterranean Sea and pose a threat to Turkey's national security. Despite the outcry from Ankara, the U.S. has been providing support to the YPG, under the pretext of fighting against Daesh.

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