Turkish FM Warns Against Working With Kurdish YPG in Operation Against Raqqa
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoğlu warned against working with the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in any future operation against Islamic State (ISIS) militants in their Raqqa stronghold.
Speaking at a joint press conference on Tuesday with Britain’s Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, he said the US-led coalition against ISIS lacks a “results-oriented strategy” which has led to “mistakes,” due to its reliance on “terrorist organizations.”
If they choose to work with the YPG in an offensive against ISIS’s stronghold in Raqqa they would be “putting Syria’s future at risk,” Cavusoglu contended.
He was clearly referring to the YPG, which the US coalition has worked with against ISIS in Syria. Turkey charges that the YPG is closely tied to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which it is currently fighting in southeast Turkey.
The Turkish foreign minister also expressed his anger that more than two-hundred YPG militiamen who helped in the operation to force ISIS from Manbij in August remain in that area, westward of the Euphrates River, in spite of a promise by the US that they would withdraw once the operation in Manbij was complete.
“Either they (the Americans) cannot influence the YPG, or they don’t want to send them (back to the eastern side of the Euphrates),” Cavusoglu said, according to Hurriyet news.
Cavusoglu also told his British counterpart that Turkey is satisfied with Britain’s stance on terrorism “that does not exclude” the PKK.