Do not arm terrorists, choose side: Turkish FM tells US

By Umar Farooq

WASHINGTON (AA) – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Friday urged the U.S. to stop arming the YPG, the Syrian affiliate of the PKK that is designated by the U.S. and EU as a terrorist organization.

Cavusoglu wrote an op-ed in the The Washington Post, in which he said the U.S. was shipping weapons to the YPG, using 5,000 trucks and 2,000 cargo planes to do so according to estimates given by Turkish officials.

The YPG also filed a request for a lobbying office in Washington D.C. in April, using the name the U.S. Mission of the Syrian Democratic Council.

"The political arm of a terrorist group seeking to peddle influence in Washington is a shocking state of affairs, and President [Donald] Trump should block its activity," said the minister.

"I’m an ally of the Kurdish people. In fact, my party has been honored to receive notable electoral support among Turkish Kurds. I am, however, a sworn enemy of terrorists of all stripes," Cavusoglu wrote, referring to ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party.

The foreign minister noted the strategy to arm the group had backfired when a U.S. marine was shot by a member of the largest Syrian militia, spearheaded by the YPG and Human Rights Watch also documented the child soldiers were being recruited by this group.

Turkey has worked hard in stopping Daesh terrorists from reaching Western capitals, and the work Turkey has done for the U.S. in tracking and arresting terrorists has put a "bullseye on Turkey’s back," according to Cavusoglu.

"Arming the YPG directly endangers Turkey and its people, who have already faced decades of fear and violence at the hands of a ruthless and radical terrorist movement", said Cavusoglu. "And now, with the help of our NATO ally, the PKK is being armed to the teeth."

The top diplomat also warned that unless drastic and immediate steps are taken to reverse the course, Turkish citizens will suffer as a result of this "reckless policy".

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people, including women and children.

Earlier this month, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said Turkey has suffered by far the highest number of terrorist attacks in comparison with other NATO members.

Cavusoglu noted that even though Turkey has faced the worst terrorism, it is proud to work towards protecting the lives of its ally.

"Turkey is proud that our actions save not only Turkish but American lives. And it’s because of those lives saved, because of the burden we’ve shouldered in the interest of our collective global security, that Turkey is right to insist that the United States not arm terrorists who are dedicated to our destruction," Cavusoglu wrote.

"It’s time to choose a side.”

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