Tillerson evades all YPG-related questions in Turkey

Rex Tillerson with Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara. DHA

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson held a joint press conference with Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu after a series of meetings with Turkish leaders in Ankara on Thursday.

Both men spoke briefly before taking questions from journalists with Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu questioning the US’s relationship with the Syrian-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Despite several persistent questions – and a claim by Cavusoglu that the US recognises that the YPG is an affiliate of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) – Secretary Tillerson did not mention the YPG in any of his responses.

A lot had been riding on a meeting that came on the back of Turkey’s termination of its Euphrates Shield operation into northern Syria while Kurdish-majority Syrian Democratic Forces, backed by the US and the international coalition, are edging closer to the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa.

Turkey had previously failed to convince the US to cease support for the SDF and this latest visit by the secretary of state has again seemingly left Ankara disappointed.