Turkey slams ‘irrational’ US accusation that it attacks Syrian Kurds

Press TV – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman has denounced as “irrational” US claims that Turkey was attacking Kurds in Syria’s northeastern parts.

Ibrahim Kalin said Sunday that Ankara’s military campaign in the neighboring Arab country, besides Daesh, has only targeted members of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

Ankara views the YPG as the Syrian branch of the PKK, which regularly clashes with Turkish forces in the Kurdish-dominated southeast of Turkey.

Kalin argued that the YPG and the PKK did not represent Syrian Kurds, which he called as “brothers.”

“To argue that a terrorist organization represents Kurds is, above all, disrespectful to our Kurdish brothers,” Kalın said, adding, “One of the goals of Turkey’s struggle against the PKK and its Syrian offshoots is to save the Kurds from the tyranny and oppression of this terror group.”

The YPG is the backbone of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which maintains close military cooperation with the US.

US President Donald Trump’s decision last month to leave Syria has exposed the Kurdish group to possible Turkish attacks.

Kalin’s remarks came after John Bolton, the US National Security Advisor, said earlier on Sunday that American forces were going to stay in northeastern Syria until Turkey pledges not to go after US-allied Kurdish groups.

“We don’t think the Turks ought to undertake military action that’s not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States, at a minimum,” he told reporters in Israel.

This, he said, was to make sure that Turkey meets Trump’s key condition to follow up on his withdrawal plan.

While Trump had originally promised to pull out all American troops within a month, Bolton refused to provide a clear timetable and said the evacuation would go ahead as planned once all “conditions” were met.

“This is a cause-and-effect mission,” Bolton said, adding, “Timetables or the timing of the withdrawal occurs as a result of the fulfillment of the conditions and the establishment of the circumstances that we want to see. And once that’s done, then you talk about a timetable.”

The White House’s top national security official is expected to travel to Turkey on Monday, where he is supposed to discuss Ankara’s plans to fight Daesh.

Trump has suggested that Turkey could take on America’s military responsibilities in Syria.

Fear of a Turkish assault has led the Kurds to strike an agreement with the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to leave the Syrian town Manbij in exchange for military support in case they come under attack from Turkey.