The Turkish deputy Prime Minister on Wednesday described the US’ decision to arm Kurdish fighters in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria as “unacceptable”.
Washington’s announcement that it would start providing weapons to groups such as the People’s Protection Units (YPG) raised eyebrows in Turkey, which considers the group a terror organisation.
“The fact that the US is handing over arms to the YPG, which even they have recognised is a terror group, does not change reality, this cannot be accepted,” deputy PM Nurettin Canikli told Turkish television.
Ankara considers the YPG to be an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) guerrilla group, which is active in eastern Turkey and is considered a terror organisation by Turkey, the US and the European Union.
The YPG, however, is not classed as a terror group by the US or the EU and has been backed by Washington in its ongoing advance against the Islamic State terror group in Syria’s Raqqa province, Efe news reported.
Conflicting approaches to Kurdish militias in the international fight against the IS has caused tensions between Turkey and the West.
Clashes between the YPG and Turkish-backed rebels from the Free Syrian Army have intensified since Ankara’s 2016 military intervention in northern Syria.