Turkey urges US to reconsider arming of Kurdish militia in Syria

Turkish officials are asking the US to reconsider its decision to arm a Kurdish militia group in Syria, which they claim is a terrorist organization. 

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said at a news conference in Montenegro on Wednesday that the decision of the United States to arm the Kurdish YPG in Syria (People’s Protection Units) poses a threat to Turkey.

“Both the PKK and YPG are terrorist organizations and they are no different apart from their names,” Cavusoglu said. “Every weapon seized by them is a threat to Turkey.”

The PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party, is a Kurdish group in Turkey that has led somewhat of a national liberation uprising against Turkey. The group was designated a terrorist organization not only by Turkey, a NATO member, but also by NATO, the European Union and the United States.

Ankara claims that the YPG in Syria is merely an extension of the PKK, and therefore a terrorist organization.

“Such a policy will not be beneficial,” said Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli to the Turkish broadcaster A Haber. “You can’t be in the same sack as terrorist organizations.”

However, the Pentagon said that it saw arming the YPG as “necessary to ensure a clear victory” in the campaign to drive the Islamic State from Raqqa, its de facto capital in Syria.

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According to Reuters, Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White acknowledged “the security concerns of our coalition partner Turkey,” but that “the SDF, partnered with enabling support from US and coalition forces, are the only force on the ground that can successfully seize Raqqa in the near future.”

The SDF, or the Syrian Democratic Forces, is a multi-ethnic coalition in Syria of different factions that is primarily led by the YPG. Despite the YPG’s alliance with the US, the group has been attacked by Turkey in Syria and in Iraq.

By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News