Turkey’s main opposition secular Republican People’s Party (CHP) has claimed that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is holding ongoing meetings with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants, the T24 news portal reported on Wednesday.
The Turkish government regards the YPG which forms the central command structure of US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), as a terrorist group.
This is due to its affiliation with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group which has waged a decades-long insurgency in Turkey.
“Is this what they’re afraid would come out?” CHP Spokesperson Faik Oztrak said during a speech at his party’s headquarters in Ankara, referring to AKP’s alleged meetings with the YPG.
“Acting Assistant to the Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs [Charles Summers] made a significant statement that says: ‘They [AKP members] hold direct talks with Syrian Democratic Forces’ main element PKK/YPG on numerous legitimate topics.’ So, what they hav
e been doing is meeting directly with those who have just killed one of our soldiers,” Oztrak stated.
CHP spokesman referred to the incident where a Turkish soldier was killed in northern Syria during an attack by the YPG on Tuesday.
Oztrak also referred to AKP’s accusations during the local election campaign that opposition parties, including CHP, are standing shoulder to shoulder with terrorists.
“Are the presidential palace and its keeper directing outlandish accusations at the CHP in order to cover their meetings with the PKK/ PYD? When did these direct meetings begin? What is the content and purpose of those meetings? How many times did you meet these terrorists?” Oztrak asked during his speech.
“I wonder what will those who have no political capital other than insults and slander say as an answer to these questions,” he added.
When asked for clarification about Summers’ statements on direct meetings between Turkey and YPG, another Pentagon spokesman, Sean Robertson, said the conversations referred to were indeed happening between the United States and Turkey, not between Turkey and the SDF.
United States Special Representative for Syria Engagement and the Special Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIL, James Jeffrey, is currently visiting Turkey to discuss bilateral issues between Washington and Ankara and the safe zone to be created in northeastern Syria, among other issues.
Ankara wants to establish a safe zone in northeast Syria next to the Turkish border to protect itself against the Syrian YPG, which it deems a terrorist organization.