The U.S. freezing funds for recovery in areas of Syria still held by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) is, although belated, the right decision, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on April 1.
Speaking to journalists alongside the governor of the southeastern province of Diyarbakır, Çavuşoğlu said more than half-a-million displaced Syrian Kurds living outside YPG-held areas deserve financial aid.
“This money should be spent to provide better standards to the people living in regions liberated from ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant]. Only then we can stabilize these cities in Syria,” he said.
“Most of them are Kurds who were exiled by the YPG. But they are not only Kurds, but also Arabs, Yazidis, Assyrians, and Turkmens,” said Çavuşoğlu, explaining that recovery aid money needs to be spent on these people.
On March 30, U.S. President Donald Trump reportedly ordered the State Department to freeze more than $200 million in funds for recovery efforts in areas of Syria held by the YPG.
On reports France might send forces to Syria’s Manbij to support the YPG there, Çavuşoğlu said France had denied these reports more than once.
“We are facing a country that doesn’t know what it is saying and is confused about what to do,” he said, adding that France has become “a country that cannot speak out about the truth it knows.”
‘Don’t act on the words of terrorists’
Turkey reacted sharply on March 29 after French President Emanuel Macron hosted a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) delegation at the Elysee Palace and suggested that Paris could “mediate” between Turkey and the group.
Çavuşoğlu said that in a phone call with his French counterpart on the issue, he said they could help the people of Afrin together.
“Don’t act based on the words of a few YPG/PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party] terrorists. What are the people there saying? You should listen to that,” he told Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian during their phone conversation.
After meeting with the SDF delegation, Macron claimed that the SDF has “no operational link with this terrorist group,” referring to the PKK.