No mention was made of the PKK’s Syrian wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), or the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) in a recently released U.S. terrorism report, in what Turkey's presidential Cabinet on Monday held up as one of the most obvious examples of the double standards used by the country.
The Cabinet criticized the "Country Report on Terrorism 2018" issued by the U.S. State Department on Friday.
“Alongside its border security, Turkey proceeds in this fight (against terrorists) for peace and the future of all friendly nations, especially the NATO alliance,” read a statement released after a Cabinet meeting chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
"However, the YPG, the PKK terror group's Syrian offshoot, and the PYD (Democratic Union Party), its political wing, as well as FETÖ, the group behind the defeated coup attempt in 2016, fail to be included in the Terrorism Report 2018, released by the U.S. State Department. This attitude is one of the most obvious examples of a double-standard approach to terrorist organizations," the statement said.
"Turkey continues to fight against all terrorist organizations, especially the PYD and FETÖ, resolutely, as well as the PKK and Daesh," it added.
The statement stressed there were few countries that have suffered from terrorism to the degree Turkey has, nor have many succeeded in combatting terror with such resolve.
“In recent years, the humanitarian crisis in Syria has led to the establishment of another terror group, the YPG, a Syrian offshoot of the PKK, as well as Daesh in our region," it added.
Referring to Operation Euphrates Shield, Operation Olive Branch and Operation Peace Spring, Turkey's latest anti-terror operation in northern Syria, the statement said Turkey gave priority to the security of civilians while simultaneously fighting terror groups.
"By creating a de-escalation zone in Idlib with Russia, we have prevented a huge tragedy involving 3 million people and have restricted the movement of terror groups once again," the statement added.
In 2018, Turkey and Russia agreed to turn Idlib into a de-escalation zone in which acts of aggression were expressly prohibited.
FETÖ and its U.S.-based head Fetullah Gülen orchestrated the defeated coup attempt on July 15, 2016, which left 251 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured. FETÖ is also behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.
Throughout the course of its over 30-year terror campaign against Turkey the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.
US mortars found in YPG terrorists' arsenal in Syria
Turkey has long criticized its NATO ally, the U.S., for cooperation with the YPG in the fight against Daesh in northern Syria. The U.S. has primarily partnered with the YPG in northeastern Syria in the fight against Daesh. 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.
Furthermore, U.S. mortar shells have been found in northeastern Syria in ammunition stores belonging to YPG terrorists.
Since the start of Turkey's anti-terror operation in northern Syria last month, YPG terrorists have killed 17 civilians, including a woman, two children and one infant, and injured 36 in southern Turkey using mortars fired across the border from northern Syria. Three Turkish soldiers have also been killed and 13 injured by YPG terrorists' mortar and cannon attacks since Oct. 9.
Turkish soldiers and their allies in the Syrian National Army seized ammunition labeled in English and technical information in Ras al-Ayn, an area liberated by Operation Peace Spring, according to Anadolu Agency (AA) reporters on the ground. Each of the 60 ammunition crates seized, found to have been made in the U.S., contained two mortar shells and 120 mm mortars known to have a range of 8 kilometers.
For years leading up to Turkey's Operation Peace Spring, launched on Oct. 9, U.S. forces worked with YPG terrorists despite Turkish objections and supplying them with ample arms and ammunition, which the U.S. pledged to retrieve once Daesh was defeated. Yet, mortars, like those found in northern Syria, have been fired into Turkish border areas and at Turkish soldiers since the start of the operation, meaning that U.S. mortars given to YPG terrorists may be responsible for killing and injuring scores of Turkish soldiers and civilians.
While the U.S. recognizes the PKK as a terrorist organization, it has ignored evidence supplied by Turkey that the YPG is, in fact, part of the same group.