The U.S. State Department said on Tuesday that Washington will maintain its partnership with Ankara in the fight against the DAESH terrorist organization but will also continue to back the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a faction dominated by fighters from the People's Protection Units (YPG), which is the militant wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Syrian affiliate of the banned PKK terrorist organization.
During his daily briefing on Tuesday, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said that Washington would continue talks with Turkey about doing "a better job of fighting against DAESH. Turkey is a key partner in this fight. They're a strong NATO ally."
However, Kirby stressed that despite Turkey's concerns, the U.S. will support the SDF regardless. However, Kirby stressed that the U.S. will continue to support the SDF regardless despite Turkish concerns, because the majority of its fighters are from the YPG and have potential as PKK affiliates in Turkey in terms of recruitment and ammunition transfers. Kirby said that for Turkey, battling DAESH was not an "esoteric discussion" as the threat was present on the Turkish border.
"It's real. We appreciate the support that [Turkey has] given to the coalition. We're going to continue to look for ways to bolster that cooperation and to try to improve our joint efforts against DAESH."
Ties between Washington and Ankara have been strained over American alliances with the PYD and the YPG, with the U.S. insisting that these groups are effective partners in the fight against DAESH. Ankara continues to reiterate that no distinction can or should be made between "good" and "bad" terrorist organizations, and has repeatedly shown evidence that the PYD and the YPG are affiliated with the PKK.
Speaking in southeastern Diyarbakır province on Saturday, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that he condemns the U.S. for supporting PYD and YPG, and referred to photos of U.S. soldiers wearing badges with YPG insignia. Erdoğan said, "This is not what was promised to us. I am someone who believes that politics should be conducted honestly. Therefore our allies, those who are with us in NATO, cannot and should not send their own soldiers to Syria, wearing the insignia from the YPG."
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu spoke on Friday and commented on the same issue, saying they are examples of Turkey's allies "making a scene" that is unacceptable. on "Our advice for the U.S. is that they should wear DAESH, al-Nusra, and al-Qaeda insignias when they go to other places in Syria, and should wear Boko Haram insignias in Africa," he said referring to other terrorist organizations, and argued that America demonstrates double standards and behaves hypocritically.