Turkey criticizes US for supporting terrorism to protect its interests

DAILY SABAH
ISTANBUL
Published 10.11.2019 17:41

Several Turkish diplomats have harshly criticized the Pentagon's statements admitting that the income from the U.S.-controlled Syrian oil fields goes to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), an umbrella group dominated by the PKK terrorists' Syrian affiliate, the People's Protection Units (YPG). The officials have said that the statements prove the U.S. is favoring terrorists rather than protecting the well-being of Syrians.

"Those who say that they will let the Syrian people's resources be used by the SDF, once again admit that they are in favor of terrorism against the people of Syria," said Justice and Development Party (AK Party) spokesman Ömer Çelik on Saturday.

The ongoing cooperation between the U.S. and the SDF under the pretext of fighting Daesh was also once again underlined in Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman's briefing to reporters late Thursday.

"The revenue from this is not going to the U.S. This is going to the SDF," Hoffman said, continuing to speak about the supposed withdrawal of terrorist forces from northern Syria: "We are not responsible for enforcing the Sochi agreement or the cease-fire, so I don't have the visibility into that issue."

AK Party Deputy Chairman Cevdet Yılmaz also pointed out on Saturday that "Others aim for petrol fields in Syria while Turkey aims for humanitarian goals," adding that Turkey has no interest in the land of another country.

"In Syria, Qamishli and Deir el-Zour can be described as 'petrol fields.' In one there are [Bashar Assad] regime forces and Russia while in the other one there is America and terrorist elements. Even this has significant symbolic meaning," Yılmaz added.

The oil fields have been at the center of attention following U.S. President Donald Trump's withdrawal of American forces from northeastern Syria. Trump has since backpedaled on the full withdrawal he announced, acknowledging some troops will stay in the region "to secure the oil."

"Democratic nations are defeated by terrorism while focusing on fighting Daesh. This is being defeated by a terrorist organization, fighting another one at the same time," said Çelik, adding that this is the greatest threat faced by democracies since World War II.

Indicating that claiming the rights of resources belonging to the Syrian people is an invasion, Çelik underlined that terrorist organizations take Syrian resources, destroy historical artifacts and sell resources, particularly oil. "All this, the most savage and inhumane projects the Middle Eastern people have seen, are built upon the PKK/YPG/PYD/SDF," he stated.

The U.S. has primarily partnered with the YPG in northeastern Syria in the anti-Daesh fight. Turkey strongly opposes the YPG's presence in northern Syria, which has been a major sticking point in strained Turkey-U.S. relations. The U.S. has provided military training and given thousands of truckloads of military support to the YPG, despite its NATO ally's security concerns.

Chairing the 24th Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Council of Ministers Meeting in Turkey's Mediterranean resort city of Antalya on Saturday, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu also criticized the U.S. statements about Syria's oil reserves.

"They openly confess that they are there for the oil. We are talking about a country that does not hide the fact that they are in a country to confiscate its natural resources and the funds from these resources are used to support terrorist organizations like the PKK/YPG," Çavuşoğlu said. Noting that the YPG is also involved in oil smuggling, just as Daesh is, Çavuşoğlu said that terrorists should be prevented from accessing natural resources.

The U.S. president publicly acknowledged that the main goal of deploying additional troops was to protect the Syrian oil reserves, while the U.S. military insists that it is there to defeat Daesh.

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