By Nilay Kar Onum
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Sunday rebuked a moderator’s “Turkey versus Kurds” comments during a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference, clarifying Turkey was not against Kurds, but it only opposes all terrorist organizations.
Speaking at the panel titled “Widening Gulf,” Cavusoglu told moderator Lyse Doucet, who is also the BBC’s chief international correspondent, “I have to disagree [with] your ‘Turkey versus Kurds' terminology.
“We are not against Kurds in Turkey, we are not against Kurds in Iran, in Iraq and Syria.
“We have 350,000 Syrian Kurds actually forced by YPG to leave. None of them are able to go back.
“We are against PKK. We are against PJAK. We are against YPG. We are against Daesh. We are against Al Qaeda. We are against al-Nusra, all the terrorist organizations,” he said.
In response, Doucet said: “Your point is taken.”
Cavusoglu also said it was a “big mistake” to support “a terrorist organization in order to defeat another one”.
“Many, many years ago, the countries who supported Taliban in Afghanistan against Russia, for instance, and some other countries, are now fighting all these terrorist organizations [including] Taliban themselves in Afghanistan.
“Why did you support these terrorist organizations against another country?
“I don’t here legitimize what other countries did in Afghanistan but supporting a terrorist organization against another terrorist organization is a big mistake and risking the future of the country, if you care about the future of Syria.
“It is also risking the territorial integrity [of Syria]. We have to be very vigilant here,” he said.
He also criticized the U.S. for giving military support to terror group YPG, which is the armed Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organization, which has waged a more than 30-year-war against the Turkish state, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths, including those of women and children.
“Why did the United States support YPG? Why did the United States give that many weapons to YPG to defeat Daesh?
“But we saw [it] in Raqqah how they cooperated together and how they made the deals," the foreign minister added.
Relations between Turkey and the U.S. have been strained over U.S. support for the terrorist group PYD/YPG/PKK in northern Syria, with the U.S. calling the group a "reliable ally" in the fight against Daesh, amid strong Turkish objections.
During Friday’s talks between Cavusoglu and his U.S. counterpart Rex Tillerson, Ankara and Washington have “reached an understanding” to normalize ties following a period of tensions.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.