World, Middle East

US defense chief admits PYD, YPG, PKK link

Ash Carter grilled by lawmaker about US support to PKK offshoot in Syria

Kasım İleri   | 28.04.2016
US defense chief admits PYD, YPG, PKK link Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter

Washington DC

By Kasim Ileri

WASHINGTON

The U.S. defense chief admitted Thursday that the PYD and YPG are lined to the PKK terror group. 

During testimony before a Senate panel, Ash Carter said "yes" when asked by Sen. Lindsey Graham whether the PYD and its military wing, the YPG, are aligned with the outlawed PKK terror group. 

Admitting the link between the PKK and PYD, Carter acknowledged that the PKK is a designated terror group by the U.S. and Turkey but denied Ankara is upset by U.S. air and equipment support to the militant group’s offshoot in Syria.

"It is not at all," Carter said. "We have extensive consultations with the Turks."

But Sen. Graham contradicted him saying that he was recently in Turkey and the government there is not happy with U.S. support for a terror group.

"They think this is the dumbest idea in the world and I agree with them," Graham said.

He noted that Turkey is asked by the U.S. to do more against Daesh but Graham does not believe that the argument by Turkish government is "absurd".

"We are arming people inside of Syria who are aligned with a terrorist group, that is the finding of Turkish government," he said.

The State Department later said that the U.S. position on the PKK and the PYD has not changed and Washington still has not designated the YPG as a foreign terrorist organization. 

The U.S. would continue to help the "effective" forces on the ground against Daesh, according to a spokesman. 

Turkey has designated all three entities as terrorist groups. 

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