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Washington's decision to arm Syrian Kurdish group is "unacceptable": Turkey's PM

Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim slammed Wednesday Washington's decision to arm a Syrian offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), saying it "unacceptable."

"Any initiative to support the PKK directly or indirectly is unacceptable for us," Yildirim said at Ankara Esenboga International Airport before leaving for an official visit to Britain, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.

"We oppose using a terrorist group against another terrorist group, and we have conveyed this clear message to our counterparts," said Yildirim.

"If the decision is negative, the outcome is not only up to Turkey, but also will negatively affect the U.S.," the prime minister warned, urging the U.S. to pay attention to Ankara's concerns at the highest levels.

Yildirim's remarks came one day after U.S. President Donald Trump authorized the arming of the Syrian People's Protection Units (YPG) "as necessary to ensure a clear victory" in a planned assault to retake the northern Syrian city of Raqqa from the Islamic State (IS).

On the same day, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that every weapon obtained by the YPG constitutes a threat to Turkey.

During a visit to Montenegro's capital Podgorica, Cavusoglu said the U.S. was aware of Turkey's stance and that the issues would be discussed by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan when he meets Trump in Washington next week.

Nurettin Canikli, Deputy Prime Minister, said Turkey would take the diplomatic initiative to convince Washington "to do what friendship requires."

Turkey considers the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the YPG, to be the Syrian affiliates of the PKK, a terrorist organization listed by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU. However, the U.S. has supported the PKK and the PYD as its ally on the ground in combating IS in Syria.

[Source: Xinhua, Ankara, 10May17]

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small logoThis document has been published on 11May17 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.