TEHRAN (defapress)- Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a meeting of the US-led anti-ISIL coalition that to combat the ISIL, the coalition needs common action and a unity of purpose.
News ID: 68668
Publish Date: 14February 2018 - 16:00
According to a diplomatic source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on talking to the media, Cavusoglu gave a speech at a closed-door ministerial meeting of the US-led coalition against ISIL in Kuwait, Hurriyet Daily News reported.
In his speech, Cavusoglu said unilateral steps such as a planned US border security force are contrary to the spirit of the coalition.
The US said last month it was creating a 30,000-strong border security force in Northern Syria, along Turkey’s border, with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group manned mostly by People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants.
While the US has called the SDF a “reliable ally” against ISIL, Ankara has strongly protested saying it is the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The Pentagon later tried to address Turkey’s backlash to the border plan, but its budget proposal submitted this week seeks $250 million for what appears to be the same plan, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
Cavusoglu stressed that Turkey contributed to the fight against ISIL with its Operation Euphrates Shield and the current “Operation Olive Branch”, adding that Turkey does not expect gratitude but understanding of its legitimate security concerns instead of unfounded criticisms.
He reiterated Turkey’s expectations from the international community in its fight against ISIL and the YPG, both targets of Turkey’s current “Operation Olive Branch” across the Turkish border in Afrin, Syria.
Cavusoglu said that it is not only the YPG which is fighting the Turkish Armed Forces during the operation, but also ISIL.
Turkey says it is carrying out “Operation Olive Branch” - launched on January 20 - to remove YPG and ISIL militants from Afrin.
Cavusoglu claimed that after its defeats in the field, ISIL changed its tactics by cooperating with the YPG, citing Afrin as an example, where Turkish officials say the YPG has freed ISIL prisoners to fight at its side.
The ministerial meeting for the coalition against ISIL began on February 13 in Kuwait.
The meeting comes as Defense Ministers of the coalition member states meet in Rome to discuss joint cooperation against ISIL foreign fighters.
The anti-ISIL coalition was formed in September 2014 by 74 countries to fight the group.