Jan 23 2018

Tillerson should stop talking like the YPG - Turkish FM

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said in an interview with pro-government Habertürk newspaper that his American counterpart should not repeat the People’s Protection Units (YPG) narrative about a Turkish operation in the YPG-controlled Syrian province of Afrin.

Çavuşoğlu related that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had said that the YPG had not fired rockets at Turkey, which Çavuşoğlu said was wrong.

“Check your sources,” Çavuşoğlu said. “Do not talk to us with their mouths.”

The Turkish government considers the YPG a terrorist organisation, the sister-group of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a conflict inside Turkey intermittently since the 1980s.

Çavuşoğlu also suggested that the United States government should either take control of its YPG ally to the east of the river Euphrates or face an expansion of the conflict into the area of Manbij, where some U.S. forces are based.

“We are saying to the U.S. ‘If you’re not with us, get out of our shadow and don’t oppose us’,” he said. “The terrorists in Manbij are continually using harrassing fire (on us). If the U.S. does not stop this, we will.”

“Of course, our aim is not to face off against the Russians, the Syrian regime, or the Americans: it is to fight the terrorist organisation,” Çavuşoğlu said.

The health of the bilateral relationship now depended on the United States, he said.

“You see the feelings and the demands of my people,” he said. “I have related these feelings to Tillerson. The future of relations depends on the steps that the United States take from now on.”