Turkey summons US envoy over ties to Syrian Kurdish group


In this May 20, 2015 file photo released by the YPG, YPG fighters stand on their vehicles on their way to battle against ISIL in northeastern Syria. (Photo: YPG via AP)

Turkey has summoned the US ambassador in Ankara to express its concerns about a reported arms transfer to a Syrian Kurdish group that Turkey considers to be the Syrian arm of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorist group, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said on Wednesday.

Speaking at a press conference held with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov in İstanbul, Davutoğlu said the government has conveyed its opposition to any cooperation with the Syrian Democratic Union Party (PYD) to both the US and Russia.

“Turkey cannot accept cooperation with terrorist organizations that have waged war against it,” Davutoğlu said, adding that the US envoy was summoned to the Foreign Ministry following a Cabinet meeting on Monday.

Davutoğlu was responding to a question over reports that the US had dropped 120 tons of weapons and ammunition from the air to the PYD’s armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), to support a joint offensive by the YPG and Syrian Arab rebels against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in its de facto capital, Raqqa.

He said there was a risk of such weapons falling into the hands of the PKK and being used against Turkey.

Noting that “organic links” between the PKK and the PYD are “obvious,” Davutoğlu said: “Turkey is determined to fight against all organizations linked to the PKK, in the same way the US and other allies fought against al-Qaeda affiliates while fighting al-Qaeda itself. Just like ally countries cannot tolerate arms transfers to groups linked to al-Qaeda, Turkey also cannot tolerate arms transfers to groups linked to the PKK.”

Turkey also suspects that Russia, which has recently launched air strikes against ISIL and other anti-regime groups in Syria, supports the PYD as an ally against ISIL.

“We will not allow weapons stockpiled in Syria to find their way into Turkey. This stance has been conveyed to the US and Russia,” he said.