In a statement about today’s meeting between the chief generals of Turkey, Russia and the US, Turkey’s Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said, “It is a misfortune that our allies have chosen terrorist organisations for collaboration such as the YPG and PYD [Democratic Union Party] which share the same character with the PKK [Kurdistan Worker’s Party]. It is not possible to fight against a terrorist organisation by using another. A separation between terrorist organisations can not be accepted.”
Turkey’s Chief of General Staff Hulusi Akar, US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford and the Chief of General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces met to discuss the current situations in Iraq and Syria, in the southern city of Antalya on Monday.
“It is essential to establish an effective coordination to clean Syria of all terrorist organisations,” said Yildirim.
“There is a risk of conflict, which we never desire, if there is no coordination. Thus, the aim of the meeting is to establish a successful cooperation and communication to avoid unpleasant incidents as well as interfering in one and other’s operations. There are plenty of terrorist organisations in the region like Daesh [the Arabic acronym for Islamic State] as well as al-Nusra, PYD and YPG. We need to come to an understanding about clearing the region from all terrorist organisations,” he added.
Yildirim also said that Turkey has already expressed its opinion to its allies about the US’ collaboration with the People’s Protection Units (YPG) against the Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
Discussions intensified when Turkey announced that “After al-Bab, our next target is Manbij,” as part of its ‘Euphrates Shield Operation’.
Turkey had stepped up its efforts to convince the USA that it should partner with the Turkish army rather than the Kurdish YPG-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the operation for de facto IS capital Raqqa.
A Pentagon spokesman said yesterday that US presence in Manbij should convince Turkey that there was no IS fighters in the region and that all forces should concentrate their efforts in the fight against IS, adding that there was no need for others to advance on Manbij in attempts to ‘liberate’ it.