ERBIL — The United States rejects to label the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) as a “terrorist” organization, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Tuesday, urging Turkey to focus on larger challenges.
Esper made the remarks during an interview with Reuters ahead of the NATO summit. He emphasized that Turkey should stop holding up support for a NATO defense plan for the Baltics and Poland, which tops the current NATO discussions.
“The message to Turkey … is we need to move forward on these response plans and it can’t be held up by their own particular concerns,” the defense secretary said.
“Alliance unity, alliance readiness, means that you focus on the bigger issues – the bigger issue being the readiness of the (NATO) alliance. And not everybody’s willing to sign up to their agenda. Not everybody sees the threats that they see,” he added.
Turkey presses its allies in NATO to recognize the YPG as a “terrorist” organization while major western states continue supporting the Kurdish forces as they lead the ongoing battle against the remnants of the Islamic State in Syria.