Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu once again asserted that the United States is issuing conflicting statements regarding the U.S. relationship with the Kurds affiliated with YPG (and PYD). Çavuşoğlu states that Secretary Kerry said that the YPG cannot be trusted during a February 18th phone call between the two leaders; this statement coming after Secretary Kerry expressed condolences on behalf of the U.S. for the 28 killed in the Ankara attack. ‘“My friend [U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry] said the YPG cannot be trusted. When you look at some statements coming from America, conflicting and confused statements are still coming…. We were glad at least to hear from John Kerry yesterday that his views on the YPG have partly changed,” Çavuşoğlu said on Feb. 19.’
The State Department issued a brief statement that Secretary Kerry did speak with Çavuşoğlu, but didn’t mention if YPG was discussed. On February 19 during a daily press briefing, State Department spokesperson, Mark C. Toner, was asked the question if the YPG could be trusted which he responded, “[t]hey have been very effective partners on the ground in northern Syria, as part of a broader group of forces fighting in northern Syria, in pushing back ISIL [the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant]. And we’ve not seen, in our assessment, any inclination for them to do anything else other than take the fight to Daesh [ISIL].”
During a February 22nd joint press conference with Italy’s FM Paolo Gentiloni, Çavuşoğlu reiterated that Secretary Kerry in fact stated that the YPG cannot be trusted and that the conversation was recorded. Çavuşoğlu continued to ‘delicately’ admonish the United States and Secretary Kerry on the the conflicting statements regarding the YPG and noted that Turkey views YPG as a terrorist organization and stated as such: “[r]elying upon another terrorist organization in the fight against terror organization Daesh [ISIL] just because the former is secular when compared to Daesh is weakness, desperateness and also a very big mistake.” Çavuşoğlu then went on to state that Washington was given proof the YPG behind the Ankara attack. As Çavuşoğlu wrapped up the joint presser with Italy’s FM, news broke on Turkish media that during a recent wiretap investigation, Turkish border officers were allegedly cooperating with ISIL. Currently, there’s no comment from Turkish officials on this recent development regarding the investigation.