A senior U.S. official in Ankara said yesterday that the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which are a Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization, and the lack of concrete steps on extradition of U.S. based Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) leader, Fetullah Gülen, are the primary sources about rising anti-Americanism in Turkey.
‘‘I would agree that primary concern about Anti-Americanism in Turkey is YPG and the Gülen issue, its pretty clear,” the U.S official, who spoke to a diplomatic correspondent in Ankara under condition of anonymity. ‘‘It’s very frustrating and painful to see that,” the official added.
U.S. arms support to the YPG and their reluctance of taking concrete steps about the extradition of FETÖ cult leader Fettulah Gülen, who is the perpetrator of the failed July 15 coup attempt in 2016, have poised the relations in the recent years. Commenting on this issue, the senior U.S official acknowledged that U.S and Turkey relations have been passing through turbulent times while underlining that the relationship is moving in a positive direction now.
‘‘A couple of months ago I would probably have said that relations between U.S and Turkey were in a very bad spot but currently I’m feeling much more optimistic. I think that there is good reason to believe that relationship is moving in a positive direction now” an official said. ‘‘It’s clear that our leaders are committed to repair the relationship. They saw we came very close to the edge and they want very much to rebuild the partnership the U.S and Turkey have enjoyed more than half a century,” an official added.
‘‘When Secretary of State Tillerson was in Ankara he made very clear that the U.S was committed to find new security architect in Syria in collaboration with the government of Turkey that would address Turkey’s legitimate security needs and that process is underway,” the U.S official said. He also stressed that changes in U.S Secretary of State would not effect the restoration process of U.S-Turkish relations. ‘‘There have been speculations on personnel changes in Washington would effect that but I can tell you that it’s not. Because this directive comes from the President Trump and we are dedicated to find a new path for Syria together with our Turkish allies,” he said.
Turkey’s decision to buy S-400 air defense systems from Russia became another source of concern for the U.S. side and therefore Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Tina Kaidanow visited Ankara in recent weeks to present the U.S.’s offer to sell Patriot air-defense systems to Turkey. Commenting on this issue the U.S official said that the Turkish side is interested in the U.S.’s offer. ‘‘Discussions about the Patriot option is continuing between the two governments and I think that the Turkish government is very interested in the Patriot option,” he said. ‘‘Our concern about the S-400 are not specifically about the Turkey, the U.S government and the other NATO partners would have the same concerns if some other member of NATO was buying S-400 missile.”
Regarding new U.S sanctions on Russia and whether it may affect Turkey, the U.S official made it clear that
congressional sanction legislation is aimed at Russia not Turkey. ‘‘The goal of congressional sanction legislation is to ensure that no NATO country take any steps to procure weapons from Russia that would be damaging to the security of the alliance,” he said while adding that the legislation is aimed at Russia not Turkey.