Opposition MHP slams NATO for not opposing PYD/YPG participation in Raqqa offensive

Published 30.05.2017 11:45
Updated 30.05.2017 16:01
emDHA Photo/em
DHA Photo

Opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairman Devlet Bahçeli criticized NATO for ruling out Turkey's suggestion to avoid using the PKK terrorist organization's Syrian affiliates People's Protection Units (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD) in the operation to liberate Raqqa.

Speaking at his party's parliamentary group meeting Tuesday, Bahçeli said although he welcomed NATO's participation in the anti-Daesh coalition, he expressed concern about the way it will take part.

"The refusal of Turkey's suggestion to avoid using PKK/PYD/YPG in the Raqqa operation is unacceptable hypocrisy," Bahçeli said, adding that the U.S. continues to supply weapons to the PYD/YPG despite opposition.

He noted that NATO's participation in the U.S.-led Raqqa operation in a way implies that the alliance turns a blind eye to the PYD/YPG terrorist groups, disregarding 65 years of partnership with Turkey, which has the second largest military in the bloc.

Bahçeli highlighted that all terrorist groups are the same, regardless of their names and that NATO and the U.S. need to stop differentiating between Daesh and PKK. He noted that the YPG/PYD in Syria are the offshoots of the PKK, which kills innocent people in Turkey.

Ankara has put forward multiple plans to U.S. authorities in order to take full control of Daesh's so-called capital Raqqa that envisages Free Syrian Army (FSA) troops on the ground while excluding the PKK's Syrian wing the YPG.

However, U.S. officials have insisted that there is no real alternative, and the U.S. has continued to back the YPG with training and air support. Turkey has long argued that the military support given to the YPG/ PYD will ultimately be used against Turkey. As such, the YPG/ PYD's existence in northern Syria has been considered a national security threat.

NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg said last week that NATO will join the U.S.-led coalition against Daesh, noting: "This will send a strong political message of NATO's commitment to the fight against terrorism," Stoltenberg said. "But this doesn't mean that NATO will engage in active combat," he added.

Meanwhile, after the meeting of NATO ambassadors, a diplomat said that the representatives in the bloc have decided on a counterterrorism action plan at the summit, which "includes the accession of NATO to the global coalition against Daesh."

"That's certainly the expectation among all European allies," added the diplomat. The coalition, which is led by the U.S., fights Daesh terrorists in Syria and Iraq. Coalition fighter jets strike Daesh positions in the two countries, boosting the fight on the ground.

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