World Bulletin / News Desk
Turkey’s recent incursion into Syria to strike ISIL positions is an “indication of important progress” in securing the Turkish-Syrian border, the White House said Wednesday.
“Our NATO allies in Turkey have made valuable contributions to the counter-ISIL campaign, and this is just the latest example of it,” spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.
Earnest acknowledged that “tension between Turks and Kurdish forces” in Syria has “been simmering for a long time,” but said the U.S. would continue its support for “unified forces” fighting ISIL in Syria.
Those forces include the YPG that Turkey considers to be the Syrian branch of the PKK. Turkey, the U.S. and EU consider the PKK a terrorist group, but Washington has refrained from listing the YPG similarly.
The YPG is the primary force within the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which has been supported by coalition airstrikes and special operators in their fight against ISIL.
“The fact is there have been diverse forces inside of Syria that, yes, that include some Kurds, but also are Arabs and Turkomen and others who have been an effective fighting force against ISIL and have been responsible for significant gains on the ground inside of Syria,” he said.
Regarding the ongoing process to extradite Fetullah Gulen, who Turkey blames for the failed July 15 coup attempt, Earnest said Ankara has “presented significant evidence” for his extradition.
Justice Department officials are currently reviewing the information and a U.S. official said earlier Wednesday that Turkey has presented four separate extradition requests, but all the information related to “allegations of criminal behavior that predated the coup.”
Given the “high evidentiary standard” that is required for an extradition request to be approved in U.S. courts, Earnest said it is “understandable that Turkey wouldn't be able to build a robust case, if there is one to be presented, against Mr. Gulen” in the month and a half since the coup attempt transpired.
The decision ultimately falls to the independent U.S. justice system, not President Barack Obama or his administration, Earnest said.
“The decision about the evidence that Turkey has compiled is one that will follow the guidelines of the extradition treaty and will ultimately involve a federal judge who will have to render their own judgment, their own assessment of the situation, consistent with U.S. law and consistent with the terms of the extradition treaty,” he said.Güncelleme Tarihi: 25 Ağustos 2016, 08:34