By Mumin Altas and Merve Yildizalp
ANKARA (AA) – Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister on Monday criticized plans by the U.S. military, saying they “will bring relations between the two countries to a near breaking level”.
According to its budget proposal for 2019, the Pentagon is seeking $550 million to train and equip the PYD/PKK terrorist group, which also uses the name SDF, as well as for building a “border security force” led by the terror group in Syria.
“The U.S. should move together with Turkey and stand by Turkey against PKK/PYD/YPG, which we regard as a terrorist organization,” said Hakan Cavusoglu, speaking to state-run channel TRT News.
“We see that there are different statements emerging in the U.S. itself. We have been saying what they do is wrong for years,” Cavusoglu said.
“We have [also] been witnessing an increase in diplomatic traffic in recent days. [U.S. National Security Advisor H.R.] McMaster came, [Secretary of State Rex] Tillerson will be here Friday. It is very clear on Turkey’s side. The U.S. continues there with the PYD/PKK, and we say we will clear the area from terrorists”
The U.S. has supported the PYD/PKK, which is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organization that has waged a more than 30-year war against the Turkish state.
American support for the terror group has long vexed Ankara as Washington views the PYD/PKK-led SDF as a "reliable partner" in its fight against Daesh and continues to provide it with arms and equipment in the face of strong objections by Turkey.
The PKK has fought a 33-year war against Turkey that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.