22:46 GMT +316 November 2018
Listen Live
    A Turkish flag waves in front of NATO's one

    Senior Turkish MP to Sputnik: US Syrian Border Force May 'Lead to Split in NATO'

    © AFP 2018 / BENOIT DOPPAGNE / BELGA
    Middle East
    Get short URL
    5280

    Justice & Development Party lawmaker and parliamentary foreign affairs committee member Berat Conkar spoke to Sputnik about the implications of US plans to create a new border security force in Syrian Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria.

    Amid growing tensions between Ankara, Washington and Damascus over the US plans for a 30,000-strong Syrian Kurdish-led border security force along Turkey's border, Moscow has voiced its concern over the US's intentions in Middle Eastern country, and said that the force threatens Syria's territorial integrity. On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated in no uncertain terms that Ankara considers the proposed Kurdish militia force a "terrorist army," amid reports the Pentagon has supplied the Kurdish forces with man-portable air defense systems, and that Turkey was considering airstrikes against the Kurds in the Syrian city of Afrin.

    Speaking to Sputnik Turkey about the implications of these developments, senior Turkish lawmaker and Turkish Group NATO Parliamentary Assembly head Berat Conkar said that with its border force plans, Washington has effectively laid its cards on the table, revealing its true plans for Syria and the region.

    "Earlier, US officials responded to Turkish criticism of their interaction with Kurdish elements with the assurance that this interaction was temporary, and connected with the need to fight Daesh," the lawmaker said. "But the current US action shows us that the Americans intend to create and maintain long-term contracts with the terrorist elements of the YPG, whose activities pose a direct threat to Turkey's security," he added.

    US military commander (R) walks with a commander (C) from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) as they inspect the damage at YPG headquarters after it was hit by Turkish airstrikes in Mount Karachok near Malikiya, Syria April 25, 2017.
    © REUTERS / Rodi Said
    US military commander (R) walks with a commander (C) from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) as they inspect the damage at YPG headquarters after it was hit by Turkish airstrikes in Mount Karachok near Malikiya, Syria April 25, 2017.

    "Such behavior by the US is absolutely unacceptable for us, and contradicts the allied principles on which our relations with the US should be built," Conkar stressed.

    According to the lawmaker, the Pentagon, US Congress, and the lawmakers of other NATO parliaments must develop a unified front to oppose and eventually block this initiative "undermining the foundations of NATO."

    "Otherwise, it will be a mistake that will lead to a very serious split within the alliance," Conkar said. "Turkey has played an important role in this alliance for over 65 years, sacrificing a great deal to ensure the security in the region and the word." If the US moves forward with the Syrian Kurdish border force, it will contradict all of NATO's principles, and all bilateral agreements. 

    A Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet ( C foreground) is seen between US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter jets at Incirlik airbase in the southern city of Adana, Turkey, file photo
    © REUTERS / Umit Bektas
    A Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet ( C foreground) is seen between US Air Force A-10 Thunderbolt II fighter jets at Incirlik airbase in the southern city of Adana, Turkey, file photo

    Calling Russia's position on this issue as expressed by Foreign Minister Lavrov "balanced and constructive," Conkar said that the essence of Turkish policy in relation to its Iraqi and Syrian neighbors is aimed at ensuring those countries' stability and territorial integrity, and the accompanying security and welfare of the region as a whole.

    Emphasizing that Ankara is aware of the importance Russia attaches to Syria and Iraq's territorial integrity, and of Moscow's efforts to work together with Turkey on issues of importance to Ankara, the lawmaker suggested the US position, including the use of terrorist organizations, is, on the contrary, a clear violation of international law.

    "In this sense, the words of the Russian Foreign Minister demonstrate Russia's realistic and constructive approach. With this in mind, I believe that Russia and Iran, working together with Turkey within the framework of a common strategy, will take the steps that are necessary to prevent the implementation of this illegal US initiative," Conkar said.

    Mostly engaged in pragmatic cooperation with Kurdish militias in northern Syria during the common war against Daesh (ISIS), Damascus and Moscow have repeatedly voiced their opposition to US presence and operations on Syrian territory, saying that it does not accord with the principles of international law, including respect for Syria's territorial integrity.

    Related:

    US 'Playing With Fire' by Building 'Terrorist Army' in Syria - Turkish Deputy PM
    Turkish Forces Shell Syrian Kurds Targets in Northern Syria - Reports
    Uncharted Territory: Erdogan's Rethink of Turkish-US Ties Has 'Historic' Meaning
    Tags:
    border force, lawmaker, NATO, Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Berat Conkar, Turkey, Syria, United States
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik