- Davutoglu says Turkey won't accept aid to groups linked to PKK
- Turkey is concerned about spillover from war in neighbor Syria
Turkey said it summoned the U.S. ambassador to issue a rebuke over America’s support for Kurds fighting Islamic State in Syria.
The government won’t tolerate international support for ethnic Kurdish militants in Syria, including the PYD, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said in a joint press conference with his Bulgarian counterpart in Istanbul. Weapons given to the groups, which have “organic links” to autonomy-seeking Kurdish PKK militants in Turkey, can be used against security forces at home, he said.
“Allied countries wouldn’t tolerate arms shipments to groups affiliated with al-Qaeda,” he said. "No one can guarantee that weapons won’t fall into the hands of the PKK tomorrow, and that they won’t be used against Turkey."
Long-running tensions between Turkey’s government and the Kurds flared again after inconclusive elections in June gave the pro-Kurdish HDP parliamentary representation for the first time, ending the 13-year majority enjoyed by the AK Party founded by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. That internal strife is now complicating relations with Turkey’s allies, in particular the U.S., which relies on Syria-based Kurdish fighters on the ground to back up its airstrikes against Islamic State.
While Turkey and the U.S., both members of NATO, consider the PKK to be a terrorist organization, they disagree on the status of the PYD.
Turkey fears the growing strength of the group, and its armed unit YPG, will lead to an independent Kurdish state on its border. Erdogan said last month the U.S. should reconsider its “wrong” stance on the group, calling it “unthinkable” that it would ignore Turkey’s views. Both the PYD and YPG are terrorist groups affiliated with the PKK, he said.
Russia has also entered the war in Syria, ostensibly in opposition to Islamic State but fighting alongside the forces of President Bashar al-Assad. Davutoglu said on Wednesday Russia’s envoy was also summoned to make it clear Turkey wouldn’t tolerate any spill-over from its involvement.