Defense Minister Akar meets US chief of staff Dunford, warns over YPG photos

Published 18.11.2018 00:00
Updated 18.11.2018 16:51
emAA Photo/em
AA Photo

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar met Sunday with U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford to discuss Washington's cooperation with the People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorists in Syria.

The meeting between Akar and Dunford on the sidelines of the Halifax International Security Forum in Canada lasted nearly an hour.

"We reiterated that we expect [the U.S.] to immediately cut ties with the terrorist YPG, which is no different the PKK," Akar said after the meeting, adding that YPG's presence in northern Syria and U.S. soldiers spending time with the terrorists was "inappropriate."

Dunford and other U.S. officials were also told that the U.S.' relationship with the YPG was disturbing for Turkey even if it was only tactical and temporary, the defense minister said, referring to earlier comments by a top U.S. official regarding the nature of U.S.-YPG ties.

A senior U.S. official told Daily Sabah on Wednesday that Washington has "temporary, tactical and transactional" relations with the YPG, emphasizing that the U.S. understands Turkey's security concerns and supports Syria's territorial integrity.

Speaking about photos of U.S. soldiers having a U.S. Veterans Day dinner with the PKK-linked terrorists, Akar said: "We warned against recurrence of such images."

"We also pointed out that giving trucks and airplanes full of weapons and ammunition to the terrorist YPG does not fit with the understanding of [the Turkish-U.S.] alliance," he said.

Stressing how the terrorist group YPG has attacked Turkish security forces and caused deaths of innocent civilians, Akar reiterated his hope that the U.S. will correct its mistake.

Akar previously met with several U.S. senators in Halifax on Saturday, telling them that Ankara was expecting the U.S. military to cut ties with the YPG as soon as possible.

The U.S. support for the PKK terror group's Syrian affiliate — the YPG — is an issue that has long infuriated Ankara and strained ties between the NATO allies.

The U.S. has been militarily supporting and cooperating with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is an umbrella group consists mostly of YPG terrorists, under the pretext of fighting against Daesh terror group. This support remains as a source of tension between Washington and its NATO ally Ankara, which has been suffering from the PKK's decades-old deadly campaign against the state.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.

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