Turkey will fight U.S. if necessary – PM Yıldırım

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım said Turkey would fight the United States if it fought Turkey alongside Kurdish forces in Syria, German state broadcaster Deutsche Welle said.

It was incompatible with the NATO alliance for the United States to work with the majority-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) to fight the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria, DW quoted him as saying in an interview German television channel ARD.

“We have a problem with the YPG. But if the United States begins warring against us by the side of the YPG, we will fight them as well,” Yıldırım said.

However, Turkey was looking to improve its relations with Germany, Yıldırım said.

“Let us open up a new page. Let us forget the past and look ahead of us, and let us develop our relations further,” he said.

Those who had been arrested after criticising Turkey’s offensive against the Kurdish-controlled Syrian district of Afrin were not detained for their opposition to it alone, Yıldırım told the TV channel.

“No-one has been arrested for their opposition to this operation,” he said. “But legal steps have been taken against those who characterised a fight against terror as a war. That is natural, because this is not a war. This is an operation.”

Those criticising Turkey on the grounds of freedom of speech were ignoring their own failings on the matter, Yıldırım said, noting that Germany had not allowed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to address a crowd via a videoconference in the run-up to the referendum on the presidential system last year.

To presenter Pınar Atalay’s statement that Die Welt journalist Deniz Yücel, who has been in Turkish custody for around a year, would not be imprisoned in Germany, Yıldırım said that neither of them could know.

“I cannot know, and you cannot know. Neither you nor I know the charges against Yücel,” he said. “But if you try to take the place of a judge or a prosecutor, then you have contravened the principle of the rule of law.”