Turkey protests US envoy McGurk's ‘provocative’ Idlib remarks


Turkey's Foreign Ministry spokesman on Sunday protested the recent remarks of the U.S. anti-Daesh coalition envoy on Turkey calling them "provocative".

The Turkish foreign ministry said it protested the U.S. special envoy for Global Coalition to counter Daesh, Brett McGurk's recent "provocative" remarks for making a connection between Turkey and the presence of terror groups in Syria's Idlib.

Turkish MFA spokesperson Hüseyin Müftüoğlu said Sunday that Turkey's reactions were directly brought to McGurk's attention at a high-level demarche and that "his statements, which could be characterized as provocative" were protested.

"Our reaction to the statements of Brett McGurk, U.S. Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter Daesh, in which he associated Turkey with the presence of terrorist organizations in Idlib [in Syria] was brought to Mr. McGurk's attention at a high-level démarche and his statements, which could be characterized as provocative, were protested," Hüseyin Müftüoğlu said in a written statement.

McGurk's remarks came during a speech he delivered at a Washington-based think tank on Thursday.

The statement said "Mr. McGurk was reminded of both the fact that the root causes enabling terrorist organizations to find foothold in Syria and Iraq could only be eradicated only if the deeds and actions of all relevant actors do not contradict one another."

McGurk was also reminded of "our expectation that the Syria-based terrorist organization PYD/YPG is not supported for whatever the reason may be".

Müftüoğlu added that the Ministry's reaction to McGurk's statements would also be reiterated to the U.S. authorities by the Turkish Embassy in Washington.

The U.S. has supported the PKK/PYD -- considered by Turkey the Syrian offshoot of the terrorist organization PKK -- along with several other Arab militia groups under the umbrella of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), long vexing Ankara.

The U.S. views the SDF as a "reliable partner" in its fight against Daesh and continues to provide it with arms and equipment against strong objection by Turkey.

The PKK has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years that has led to the deaths of more than 40,000 people. It is a designated terror group in Turkey, the U.S. and EU.

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