Turkey vows to take action against a United States-supported plan to establish a Kurdish-majority force of 30,000 troops in Syria “regardless of who backs them,” cautioned Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.
“We will take our own measures [against Kurdish-majority force]. Regardless of who backs them, whether it is the U.S. or other countries, it doesn’t matter to us,” the foreign minister told reporters in Canada’s Vancouver city, reports Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency.
The foreign minister reportedly urged the United States to “clarify which side it is on, whether it chooses to be with its allies or terror groups.”
Alluding to “a possible military operation into” Kurdish-controlled northern Syria, the foreign minister pointed out that Turkey will continue to fight against the U.S.-allied People’s Protection Units (YPG/YPJ).
The YPG is the armed wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) that controls vast swathes of northern Syria (the YPJ is it’s all-women analog).
America’s support for the Syrian Kurdish groups, which Turkey considers to be terrorists linked to the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), has driven a wedge between NATO allies Ankara and Washington.
Cavusoglu’s warning comes after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to “choke” the 30,000-strong Syrian Border Security Force (BSF).
The U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a Kurdish-Arab alliance made up primarily of YPG fighters, is expected to lead the BSF.
In a statement issued by Ryan Dillon, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, the alliance confirmed that it is “working jointly” with the YPG-led SDF “to establish and train the new Syrian Border Security Force.”
Erdogan has dismissed the BSF as a “horde of murderers.”
“The U.S. has admitted to setting up a terrorist army along our country’s borders. Then, our role is to choke this army of terror before it is born,” declared an angered President Erdogan, reported Kurdistan 24 on Monday.
Referring to the Syrian Kurdish groups and its affiliates, Ibrahim Kalin, a spokesman for Erdogan, added that Turkey has the right to defend itself against “terror groups” on its terms and time, according to Reuters.
“Turkey will continue to take all necessary precautions aligned with its national interest to preserve its national security,” proclaimed Kalin, echoing the Turkish president and foreign minister.