EU Minister rejects claims of ceasefire between Turkey and PYD/YPG in Syria

Turkey cannot be equated to a terrorist organization like the PYD/YPG, EU Minister Ömer Çelik said on Wednesday, in response to claims about a ceasefire between the country and the aforementioned groups in Syria.

“The Republic of Turkey is an independent, lawful state,” Çelik said and added: “It cannot be evaluated as if they [Turkey and PKK/PYD] were equal and there was an agreement between them.”

Çelik also noted that the PYD’s activities in northern Syria benefit terrorists rather than Kurdish people.

He said that some of PYD fighters have crossed east of Euphrates but some remain to the west, which he said is unacceptable.

Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry has informed Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu that the PKK terrorist organization’s Syrian offshoot, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), is retreating east of the Euphrates River in Northern Syria, as had been promised by the U.S.

Several media reports on Tuesday, citing U.S. officials, had said that a cease-fire had been agreed to between Turkey-backed Syrian rebels and PYD/YPG forces.

Ankara considers the PYD and its armed wing, the YPG, to be the Syrian offshoots of the PKK terror group, which has waged war on Turkey for decades, and has declared their presence west of the Euphrates a red line.

The PKK is recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union.

While Turkey considers the PYD to be the Syrian offshoot of the terrorist PKK organization, the U.S. sees the group as its ally.

Operation Euphrates Shield, which was launched last week, is aimed at improving security, supporting coalition forces and eliminating the terror threat along Turkey’s border through Free Syrian Army fighters backed by Turkish armor, artillery and jets.

Meanwhile, Çelik also slammed European Commissioner’s remarks on Turkey’s EU accession, saying it amounts to ‘cultural racism.’

EU Commissioner Guenther Oettinger had said on Tuesday that Turkey’s EU accession is not possible as long as President Erdoğan is in power.


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