Turkey warns against backing PKK/PYD to take Raqqah

Ankara's allies should not cooperate with terrorist groups which are enemies of Turkey, says deputy prime minister

Turkey warns against backing PKK/PYD to take Raqqah

World Bulletin / News Desk

Using the PKK/PYD to take the Syrian city of Raqqah from ISIL could create a new humanitarian crisis, a senior Turkish minister warned on Friday.

Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus also said it was “unacceptable” for NATO-member Turkey to tolerate the arming of terrorist organizations by its NATO allies.

“Let’s say you drove ISIL from Raqqah. If you let the PYD -- which is already waiting for ethnic cleansing in Raqqah -- enter into 100 percent Arab Raqqah -- how can you prevent possible humanitarian crises and huge conflicts there?” he asked.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced that U.S. President Donald Trump had approved the arming of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) ahead of an attempt to drive ISIL from Raqqah.

The SDF is spearheaded by the PKK/PYD and its armed wing, the PKK/YPG. Turkey views both as the Syrian affiliates of the terrorist PKK, which has fought a 33-year war against Turkey and is also listed as a terror organization by the U.S. and EU.

However, the U.S. has used the PKK/PYD as its ally in Syria in combatting ISIL. Turkey has repeatedly called on the U.S. to end its ties to the PKK/PYD and offered to help take Raqqah.

Kurtulmus said Turkey was both defending the territorial integrity of Syria and Iraq and supporting moves to clear out terrorist organizations.

“In this sense, we underline that ISIL is as dangerous a terrorist organization as the PKK and PYD,” he said, adding that if the U.S. and other Turkish allies were in search of regional peace, they should not be cooperating with terrorist organizations.

“Instead, we say [to Turkey’s allies] it would be rational to cooperate with Turkey, which is the only regional country with economic and political stability,” he added.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 12 Mayıs 2017, 14:49