Turkey on Wednesday rejected claims by the US, which said Turkish forces had reached an agreement for a temporary pause with the Kurdish militia in northern Syria.
EU Affairs Minister Omer Celik said: “We do not accept in any circumstances a ‘compromise or a ceasefire reached between Turkey and Kurdish elements’. The Turkish republic is a sovereign, legitimate state. You cannot say it has reached a deal with terrorists,”.
Turkey views the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, YPG, as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), an outlawed militant group, which has waged a war on Ankara for the last three decades to establish an autonomous Kurdistan. The YPG are, however, backed by the US in the fight against the Islamic State.
Celik added: “PYD’s activities in northern Syria benefit terror groups, not Kurdish people.”
Prime Minister Binali Yildrim said that “operations will continue until all threats to Turkish citizens have been eliminated. Regardless of statements made, the situation is clear: The PKK, PYD, YPG are all the same and hurt Turkey. We are determined in our stance.”
On Tuesday, the US had announced that the Turkish forces and the YPG had reached a “loose agreement” to end the fighting in Jarablus and focus on battling ISIS.
Colonel John Thomas, spokesperson for the US central command, told AFP, “It is a loose agreement for at least the next couple of days and we are hoping that will solidify.” He added that the Turkey and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), comprising of Kurdish and Arab fighters, had opened up communications between each other and the US. He described the agreement as “encouraging.”
Last week, Turkey launched an offensive against the ISIS and Kurdish militants simultaneously.