TURKEY

Support for PKK/YPG/PYD not befitting of alliance with Turkey, security council says

SUPPORT FOR PKK/YPG/PYD NOT BEFITTING OF ALLIANCE WITH TURKEY, SECURITY COUNCIL SAYS

Turkey's top security body, the National Security Council (MGK) said Wednesday that providing support to the PKK/YPG/PYD terrorist groups is not befitting of an alliance with Turkey.

In a statement released after the meeting, officials said that the meeting focused on Turkey's war on terror.

The statement said that the policy of supporting the PKK/PYD/YPG terrorist organization which is acting under the guise of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), all the while disregarding Turkey's expectations are not befitting of a friendship and alliance.

After the U.S. refused Turkey's suggestion of refraining from using the PKK and its Syrian offshoots the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing the People's Protection Units (YPG) in the Raqqa operation, the former has begun distributing arms to U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are predominantly led by the YPG in Raqqa. The latest intelligence information regarding the YPG's activities across Turkey's border was also discussed in the meeting.

U.S. support for the SDF has caused a major strain in relations between Washington and Ankara as the YPG forms the backbone of SDF forces. The U.S. says supporting the SDF is the only alternative for defeating the Daesh terrorist group; whereas Turkey says an alternative should be formed through local Arab tribes backed by countries in the region instead of supporting a terrorist group. Furthermore, Turkey considers the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the YPG, to be Syrian affiliates of the PKK, a proscribed terrorist organization according to the U.S., Turkey and the EU. The PYD has come under the spotlight for its crimes against Arab and Turkmen locals in northern Syria, as part of its attempt to implement demographic changes in the region. The PYD's forced migration of Arabs and Turkmens, as well as arbitrary arrests of critical voices and recruitment of child soldiers, have also been covered by international human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch (HRW), Amnesty International and KurdsWatch.

The current stage in Turkish-EU relations, decisions taken at the NATO summit and the latest developments in Syria and Iraq were also discussed during the meeting.

The statement reiterated that Turkey's relations with the European Union should be strengthened in line with Turkey's full membership goal, while obstacles to visa-free travel and opening new negotiation chapters must be lifted, and that the EU should fulfill its commitments with regard to the aid to be provided to asylum seekers.

The closed meeting held under the chairmanship of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the Presidential Complex in Ankara lasted about 4,5 hours.

Contact Us