US underlines support for ally Turkey after PYD row

Defense secretary says US agrees with Turkey in opposing terrorism after row over refusal to denounce PKK's Syrian affiliate

US underlines support for ally Turkey after PYD row

World Bulletin / News Desk

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has underlined his country’s support for Turkey as an ally despite a recent row over the United States’ stance on the terrorist organization PKK's Syrian affiliate, the Democratic Union Party (PYD).

"Turkey is a good and long-standing ally of the U.S. We are not going to agree with them on all matters [but] we staunchly agree with them -- and always have -- that we oppose terrorism in any form," Carter said following a NATO defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels on Thursday.

"We are working with local forces in defeating ISIL; we [will] also continue working with Turkey," Carter said.

Carter convened the first-ever gathering of defense ministers of the global coalition against ISIL on Thursday.

Participants from a total of 49 nations, including the 28 NATO allies, were invited to attend the meeting held in Brussels.

Carter’s comments come one day after Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, warned Washington would suffer for its supportive stance towards the PYD.

The recent dispute between Turkey and the U.S. -- NATO allies -- centers on Washington’s objection to describing the PYD as a terrorist group, instead classifying it as "a reliable partner".

The U.S. has also provided support for the People's Protection Units (YPG), the military wing of the PYD, in the fight against ISIL.

Carter said the coalition has put up new efforts to strike against ISIL financing and deploy Iraqi units towards the city of Mosul, which was taken over by the terror group in 2014.

"We have some new efforts to strike at ISIS financing. There are a number of Iraqi units, which will be deployed up north towards Mosul," Carter said, using an alternative acronym for ISIL.

"We are carrying out some important activities in the information area I can’t discuss much further with you," he added.

Carter also described Russia’s actions in Syria as a "strategic mistake" and that the coalition is "determined" to defeat ISIL militarily. NATO has repeatedly said that Russian strikes in Syria have mainly targeted the moderate opposition rather than ISIL.

"As far as the Syrian civil war is concerned, they [Russia] are taking it in the wrong direction," Carter added.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Şubat 2016, 09:15