‘US risks relations with Turkey over border force plan’
A senior Turkish lawmaker who is also head of the Turkish delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly has called on the U.S. to reverse its decision to create a border force in Syria or risk jeopardizing its relations with Turkey.
In a written statement late Tuesday, Ahmet Berat Conkar criticized a decision by the U.S-led international coalition against Daesh to establish a 30,000-strong border security force in northern Syria to be led by the SDF, a group dominated by the terrorist PKK/PYD.
Conkar, who is also deputy of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party, said the forming of a border security force with the SDF contradicted "commitments and statements of the U.S."
"[It] will constitute a threat to the national security of our country and consequently to NATO," he added.
Conkar called on the U.S. "to reverse their decision before relations between the U.S. and Turkey are harmed irreparably".
He underlined Turkey's "determination to eliminate any threat to its national security and its commitment to Syria's territorial integrity".
On Saturday, Turkish security forces hit several PKK/PYD targets in Afrin in northern Syria to prevent a "terror corridor" from forming along Turkey's borders.
The Afrin operation follows Turkey's successful seven-month Operation Euphrates Shield, which ended in March 2017.
The coalition issued a written statement to some media outlets Sunday, saying it was working with the SDF to set up and train a Syrian border protection force.
Turkey has long protested U.S. support for the PKK/PYD, the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization, and its military wing YPG, while Washington sees it as a "reliable ally" in its fight against Daesh in Syria.
Listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, the PKK has waged a terror campaign against Turkey for more than 30 years.