By Nilay Kar Onum
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said the U.S. has chosen the "wrong partner" in the fight against Daesh terror group in Syria as he referred to the YPG/PKK terror group.
In a guest op-ed published in the New York Times on Sunday, Cavusoglu wrote: “American reliance on the People’s Protection Units (YPG) is a self-inflicted error when the United States already has a capable partner in Turkey.
“We have no doubt that the United States will see the damage this policy is inflicting on the credibility of the NATO alliance and correct its policy by putting its allies and long-term interests first again."
He said Turkey, however, could not afford to wait for "eventual and inevitable course corrections".
"Paying lip service to understand Turkey’s security concerns does not remove those threats and dangers."
Terming Daesh as a “common enemy”, Cavusoglu said: “The victory against the group could not have been possible without Turkey’s active contributions.”
Impasse between Turkey, US
In the article, Cavusoglu talked about how an impasse had been created between U.S. and Turkey.
“An impasse has been created between us by the United States’ choice of local partner in this war: a group that the American government itself recognizes as a terrorist organization.
“The so-called People’s Protection Units, or Y.P.G., is simply the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK] terrorist organization by another name,” he said.
"The groups have adopted different names and developed convoluted structures, but that does not cloak their reality."
He said the YPG/PKK terrorists across the borders in Iraq and Syria were using weapons and training provided by the United States.
“A NATO ally arming a terrorist organization that is attacking another NATO ally is a fundamental breach of everything that NATO stands for. It is a policy anomaly that needs to be corrected,” he added.
- Operation Olive Branch
Mentioning about “an increase in threats posed by the YPG and Daesh encampments in Syria,” he wrote: “We had to act, and so Turkey has launched Operation Olive Branch against the terrorists in Afrin.”
Stating that the operation has a “clear objective”, he said: “The targets are the terrorists, their shelters, their weapons and related infrastructure. The Turkish Army is acting with utmost precaution to avoid harming civilians.
“Turkey will continue the mission until terrorists are wiped out. Turkey will not consent to the creation of separatist enclaves or terrorist safe havens that threaten its national security and are against the will of the Syrian people.”
At least 597 PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists have been "neutralized" since the beginning of Operation Olive Branch in Syria, the Turkish General Staff said on Monday.
Afrin has been a major hideout for the PYD/PKK since July 2012, when the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria left the city to the terror group without putting up a fight.
Maintaining the territorial integrity of Syria is "key" to the peace efforts, Cavusoglu wrote.
"Clearing terrorists means opening space for peace.
"We strive for a future that is free of terrorist entities, imploding neighbors, wars and humanitarian calamities in our region," he noted.
Turkey deserves the respect and support of the United States in this essential fight, the foreign minister added.