US must address threats to friendly ties: Turkish MPs

By Coskun Ergul

ANKARA (AA) – Two critical issues must be addressed to avoid “irrevocable damage” to Turkish-U.S. relations, warns a new letter from ruling party Turkish parliamentarians to U.S. President Donald Trump.

The letter, written in response to an earlier one by the U.S. Congress sent to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was opened for signatures at the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party’s parliamentary group on Wednesday.

The letter, written at the initiative of Volkan Bozkir, the head of parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee, says: “We strongly believe that our bilateral ties must be saved from the negative effects of two pressing issues that have fed a growing distrust towards the U.S. in the eyes of the Turkish public.”

It added: “If left unchecked, our relations risk irrevocable damage.”

The letter touched on two main issues between the countries: Turkey's request for the U.S. extradition of Fetullah Gulen, the ringleader of a defeated 2016 coup attempt organized by the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), and U.S. support for PYD/YPG terrorists in Syria.

The coup bid tried to “overthrow the democratically elected government in Turkey,” said the letter.

It added that its price was “steep” and left many people martyred and injured — specifically, 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

It criticized the U.S. for not knowing how to react properly to the coup attempt.

“Democracy must prevail and those who attempt to subvert it by violence condemned,” said the letter, giving the correct response.

The letter said the fact that Gulen still finds himself in a “safe haven” in Pennsylvania, the U.S. and can freely “run his global criminal enterprise” has caused outrage among the Turkish people.

“Distressingly, our calls to the U.S. government to take certain administrative measures to curtail the activities of FETO in the U.S. are as yet unanswered,” it said, adding that Turkey is seeking more than 40 high-level authorities of the terrorist group, along with Gulen.

– Arms going to PYD/YPG terrorist group

The letter also detailed the second issue of U.S. support for the Syrian offshoot of the terrorist group PKK, which is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S.

“Our citizens have been deeply disturbed by the images of U.S. troops patrolling with PYD/YPG terrorists and thousands of truckloads of arms and ammunitions being transferred to the PYD/YPG.”

It added that using that the PYD/YPG using the label “Syrian Democratic Forces” does not change the fact that it is a terrorist organization and is using U.S. arms against Turkey.

The letter said that presence of the terrorist group across Turkey’s border with Syria threatens not only Turkey’s national security, but also the territorial integrity and political unity of Syria.

It added that supporting one terrorist organization in order to fight against another one — the U.S. strategy with the PYD/YPG — actually risks the overall fight against Daesh.

It went on to say that democracy is unlikely to bloom in Syria anytime soon.

Stating that there is no better partner than Turkey in the fight against terrorism, it said: “We call on the U.S. government to fulfill its promises, disengage from the PYD/YPG, and start working with Turkey to put an end, once and for all, to Daesh and all terrorist threats.”

It called FETO and PYD/YPG two existential threats to Turkey’s national security and democracy.

“To avoid further deterioration of our relations, it is high time for the U.S. government to lend a sympathetic ear to the voices coming from Turkey and take concrete steps to ensure the security of its ally Turkey.”

The letter is planned to be sent to Trump tomorrow.

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