Turkey slams US for backing Syrian Kurdish militias
Ankara’s foreign minister sarcastically advised US troops to wear ISIS or Boko Haram badges when in parts of Syria or Africa
Turkey on Friday accused the United States of hypocrisy after US commandos in Syria were pictured supporting a major ground offensive led by a Kurdish militia branded a terror group by Ankara.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it was “unacceptable” that US troops had been seen in images taken by an AFP photographer wearing insignia of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
“We advise them (US troops) to wear badges of Daesh (IS) or (Al-Qaeda affiliate) Al-Nusra when they go to other parts of Syria and badges of Boko Haram when they go to Africa,” Cavusoglu said with angry sarcasm.
“If they don’t see these (groups) as the same as the YPG, then this is double standards, hypocrisy,” he said at a news conference at a meeting on Least Developed Countries in the southern resort of Antalya.
Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdish Workers’ Party, or PKK, an armed insurgent group which it has fought for decades and is considered a terror organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.
Turkey is an ally in the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS but the two countries are at odds over the involvement of Kurdish fighters in northern Syria in the battle against the group.
Washington sees the YPG as one of the most effective fighting forces against ISIS militants inside Syria.
The issue has caused tensions between the two NATO allies for months.
The AFP photographer saw US forces on the ground in northern Syria helping the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in a major offensive against ISIS in its stronghold of Raqqa province.
Several US commandos were also photographed wearing the military insignia of the YPG, which make up the bulk of the SDF.
(WIth AFP and the Associated Press)