Anti-Daesh coalition needs unity of purpose: Turkish FM
Unilateral steps such as planned US border security force are contrary to spirit of coalition, says Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu
To combat the terrorist group Daesh, the coalition needs common action and a unity of purpose, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Tuesday during a meeting of the U.S.-led coalition.
According to a diplomatic source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on talking to the media, Mevlut Cavusoglu gave a speech at a closed-door ministerial meeting of the U.S.-led coalition against Daesh in Kuwait.
In his speech, Cavusoglu said that unilateral steps such as a planned U.S. border security force are contrary to the spirit of the coalition.
The U.S. said last month it was creating a 30,000-strong border security force in northern Syria along Turkey's border, with the PYD/PKK.
While the U.S. has called the PYD/PKK a “reliable ally” against Daesh, Ankara has strongly protested that it is actually the Syrian offshoot of the terrorist PKK, a group which has taken thousands of lives in Turkey, including those of women and children.
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.
Cavusoglu stressed that Turkey contributed to the fight against Daesh with its Operation Euphrates Shield and 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 terrorist groups such as Daesh and the PYD/PKK -- both targets of Turkey’s current counter-terrorist Operation Olive Branch across the Turkish border in Afrin, Syria.
Cavusoglu stated that it is not only the PYD/PKK which is fighting the Turkish Armed Forces during the operation, but also Daesh.
Turkey on Jan 20. launched Operation Olive Branch to remove PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin.
Cavusoglu said that after its defeats in the field, Daesh changed its tactics by cooperating with other terrorist groups such as PYD/PKK, citing Afrin as an example, where Turkish officials say the PYD/PKK has freed Daesh prisoners to fight at its side.
The ministerial meeting for the coalition against Daesh began Tuesday in Kuwait.
The meeting comes as defense ministers of the coalition member states meet in Rome to discuss joint cooperation against Daesh foreign fighters.
The anti-Daesh coalition was formed on Sept. 11, 2014 by 74 countries to fight the terrorist group.