Turkey has strongly reacted against the United States decision to build a new force with the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in order to secure Turkish and Iraqi borders with Syria.
The Foreign Ministry slammed media reports that the U.S.-led international coalition against Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) would establish a 30,000-strong new border security force with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)—the U.S.-backed group that is largely controlled and manned by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.
The Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Jan. 14 saying Turkey had reiterated on numerous occasions that it was “wrong and objectionable” to cooperate with the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) “terrorist organization” on the ground in Syria in order to fight ISIL and stabilize the areas liberated from it.
“On the other hand, the establishment of the so-called ‘Syria Border Protection Force’ was not consulted with Turkey, which is a member of the coalition,” the statement said.
It was also unknown which coalition members approved this decision, the ministry said. “To attribute such a unilateral step to the whole coalition is an extremely wrong move that could harm the fight against Daesh,” it said, referring to ISIL in an Arabic acronym.
“Such initiatives, through cooperation with the PYD/YPG in contradiction with U.S. commitments and statements, endanger Turkey’s national security and the territorial integrity of Syria, and are totally unacceptable,” it said.
“We condemn insistence on this wrong approach and once again remind that Turkey is determined to and capable of eliminating any threats against the country,” it added.
The coalition had issued a written statement to some media outlets earlier on Jan. 14, wherein it said the coalition was working with the SDF to set up and train a Syria Border Protection Force.
Turkey has long protested U.S. support for the PKK/PYD, as Ankara sees it an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), while Washington sees it as a “reliable ally” in its fight against ISIL in Syria.
Turkey has ‘right’ to fight terrorism ‘in any way’: Presidential spokesman
Turkey has the right to fight all terrorist groups in any manner it deems fit and will continue to take necessary measures to ensure its security in line with national interests, Turkish presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın said on Jan. 14.
“Within this framework, Turkey reserves its right to respond to the legitimate target of terrorist organizations in any way, time and place,” Kalın said in a written statement.
“The United States of America takes worrisome steps towards legitimizing the PKK terrorist group’s Syrian offshoot, PYD-YPG under the pretense of ‘fight against Daesh,’” Kalın said, adding the steps also aimed to provide a permanent place for the terrorist group in the region.