‘It is time for U.S. to choose a side’ - Turkish Foreign Minister
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called for Washington to choose a side between Turkey and terrorist groups he claims aiming Turkey’s destruction, in an article he penned for the Washington Post on Friday.
Çavuşoğlu criticised the United States for choosing to back the Kurdish-majority People’s Protection Units (YPG) in combatting the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria and for providing the YPG heavy weaponry.
Turkish government recognises the YPG as an extension of Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has been fighting inside Turkey since 1984.
Çavuşoğlu said that, according to the estimates of the Turkish authorities, Washington had used 5,000 trucks and 2,000 cargo planes to deliver weapons to the YPG in recent years.
“A similar deployment on the borders of any NATO member state would be cause for outrage. This is a fundamental breach of everything for which NATO stands,” Çavuşoğlu said.
Çavuşoğlu also advised the U.S. President Donald Trump to block the activities of the political arm of the YPG, the Syrian Democratic Council, which has applied to establish a lobbying office in Washington. “The political arm of a terrorist group seeking to peddle influence in Washington is a shocking state of affairs,” he said.
Turkish Foreign Minister also said that Washington was in no position to promise that these weapons would not be turned against Turkey, as Syria was in the middle of a war.
“Every day, Turkish security forces work hard to prevent Islamic State fighters from fleeing Syria and travel through Turkey to Western capitals,” Çavuşoğlu said. “This work has put a bullseye on Turkey’s back — and my own — from the Islamic State and other extremist groups.”
Turkey’s ultimate mission to protect its people from harm is sacrosanct and Turkey is proud of its actions saving both Turkish and American lives, Çavuşoğlu said, adding that the burden Turkey has shouldered gives Ankara the right to insist that the United States not arm terrorists who are dedicated to Turkey’s destruction.
“It’s time to choose a side,” Çavuşoğlu said.