Despite its NATO ally Turkey's legitimate security concerns, the United States continues to provide military support to the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization, the YPG. Most recently, the YPG shared footage of Bradley armored vehicles supplied to them by Washington.
As several Turkish news websites, including Yeni Şafak, Yeni Akit and Ulusal Kanal, reported, YPG members shared images of patrolling around the city of Hassakeh in northeastern Syria by hanging their flags on Bradley-type armored vehicles donated by the U.S.
In addition, Anadolu Agency (AA) recently reported that the U.S. House of Representatives last month approved a $778 billion 2022 defense budget bill, which envisions providing $177 million in aid to the YPG/PKK terrorist organization, in a move that has triggered many discussions.
According to Betül Usta, who is the Sabah daily's senior diplomacy correspondent, this bill covers the salaries paid to terrorists, training, living materials, logistical support and equipment, including missiles, rifles, heavy weapons, mortars and rocket launchers, as well as their maintenance and repair.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and other senior figures from Turkey have recently highlighted that the country's NATO ally had been increasing its support to the YPG. It was reported that Washington has provided nearly $2 billion in financial support to the terrorist group from its defense budget in the last five years. This figure rises to nearly $3 billion with additional funds provided by Gulf states.
The U.S., which accepts that the PKK is a terrorist group, has said the training, weapons and ammunition support it provides to the YPG is to support the fight against the Daesh terrorist organization. However, the air defense products provided by the U.S. to the YPG contradict that claim as Daesh does not have an air-defense arsenal, Usta reported.
The issue of U.S. support for the YPG/PKK terrorists has become one of the main disputes between Ankara-Washington. The U.S. primarily partnered with the YPG in northeastern Syria to fight Daesh. Turkey strongly opposed the YPG’s presence in northern Syria and the formation of a terror corridor, which has been a major sticking point in strained Turkey-U.S. relations. Under the pretext of fighting Daesh, the U.S. has provided military training and given truckloads of military support to the YPG, despite its NATO ally’s security concerns.
Ankara has long objected to the U.S.’ support of the YPG, a group that poses a threat to Turkey and terrorizes local people, destroying homes and forcing people to flee. While underlining that a country cannot support one terrorist group to fight another, Turkey conducted its own counterterrorism operations, over the course of which it has managed to remove a significant number of terrorists from the region.
The U.S. is currently supporting terrorist organizations far more than expected, President Erdoğan said recently, adding that the two NATO allies should be in a very different position.
"My wish is to have friendly and not hostile relations" with the United States, he said. "But the way things are going between two NATO allies is currently not too auspicious," he added.
In response to recent reports that the U.S. has provided new Bradley armored vehicles to the YPG, the U.S. has consistently and categorically refuted these reports. "Any assistance provided to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) is tailored to the defeat of Daesh in Syria and does not include any form of air defense capabilities or the divestment of Bradley fighting vehicles," the U.S. Embassy in Ankara spokesperson said.