ANKARA (Hurriyet Daily News) — Days after expressing his pleasure over seeing his U.S. counterpart agree with Turkey over the “unreliability” of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the military wing of Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD), Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has once more accused Washington of making conflicting statements about the YPG and PYD, urging U.S. officials to eliminate their internal differences and make up their minds over the issue.
“The U.S. is our ally. Different views between their own institutions or different views of persons within the same institutions are not binding for us. What I had said was what I was told by U.S. Secretary of State, my friend John Kerry, on the telephone,” Cavusoglu said on Feb. 22, referring to a conversation with Kerry held on Feb. 18.
“My friend Kerry said the YPG cannot be trusted. When you look at some statements coming from America, conflicting and confused statements are still coming…. We were glad at least to hear from John Kerry yesterday that his views on the YPG have partly changed,” Cavusoglu said on Feb. 19.
Speaking to reporters at a daily press briefing later on Feb. 19, State Department Deputy spokesperson Mark C. Toner was asked whether the U.S. “trusted” the YPG.
“They have been very effective partners on the ground in northern Syria, as part of a broader group of forces fighting in northern Syria, in pushing back ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant]. And we’ve not seen, in our assessment, any inclination for them to do anything else other than take the fight to Daesh [ISIL],” Toner responded.
In response to questions at a joint press conference with visiting Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni, Cavusoglu reiterated on Feb. 22 that Kerry had told him the YPG was “not reliable.”
“And thereby, he said that we would do some things together in the fight against Daesh. Our conversation was recorded anyway; it is clear. I have thanked him for arriving at this point and seeing this truth. We have been trying to explain and we are saying it again. And I hope that these truths find their places in all institutions inside America too and different views among themselves get eliminated. We are not saying this to intervene in their domestic affairs but we are saying it because this also influences their dialogue with us,” he said.
“Relying upon another terrorist organization in the fight against terror organization Daesh just because the former is secular when compared to Daesh is weakness, desperateness and also a very big mistake,” he said, after repeating that Ankara has provided Washington with evidence showing that the YPG committed the Feb. 17 bombing that killed at least 28 people in the heart of the capital city.
“Who falls into the sea should not hold a snake because that snake bites you, too,” he added, referring to a Turkish idiom meaning “If you are in a bad situation, you will accept any help.”
Turkey was also informed of the content of a draft agreed to by Kerry and Lavrov when it was sent to Ankara on the evening of Feb. 21, Cavusoglu said, dubbing the deal “a reflection of the Feb. 11 declaration” in Munich.
“What matters here is a halt to Russia’s airstrikes. We told our views on this [to Kerry],” Cavusoglu said, noting opposition groups would gather in Riyadh on Feb. 23 to discuss recent developments.
“As it has always been the case, we will resume our constructive endeavors. We have encouraged the opposition to participate in the negotiations. The goal is common for all of us but the countries with secret agendas should also stop these activities,” he said.
Strictly ruling out plans for a unilateral joint move with Saudi Arabia for a ground incursion into Syria, Cavusoglu, however, said, “Instead of getting back from other terror organizations to fight against Daesh on the ground, as the 65 countries [of the anti-ISIL coalition], we can very well fight against these organizations.”
“But there is a fact in the open,” he said, arguing that these 65 countries have “failed” in the fight against ISIL.