Turkey’s Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said he has shown pictures to his United States counterpart, James Mattis, proving that the weapons given by the Pentagon to the People’s Protection Units (YPG) have been used to kill Turkish troops in a recent terror attack in the southeastern Anatolian region.
“In a meeting with the U.S. Secretary of Defense, we have made it clear that the YPG is an offshoot of the PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] and that the two organizations are under the same command. We have not only said this, but we have proven it with documents and pictures,” Canikli told reporters after a NATO meeting in Brussels on Nov. 9.
“We have presented these documents not only to America but also to England, Spain, Albania and other countries,” he said.
Canikli and Mattis held a bilateral meeting on Nov. 8 on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels where the former reiterated Turkey’s disturbance and concerns regarding the U.S. military’s support to the YPG in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Turkey has repeatedly emphasized to the U.S. that weapons given to the YPG can be used by the PKK against Turkish troops, as was observed in a recent terror attack in southeastern Anatolia that killed eight soldiers.
“Particularly regarding an anti-tank [rocket launcher], the AT-4, we submitted pictures [of this weapon] and expressed our belief that it might be one of the weapons given by the Americans to the YPG,” Canikli said.
The minister said he had also underlined the contradiction in the number of weapons delivered to the YPG with the scope of the ongoing anti-ISIL fight in the field, especially since it is obvious the fight against the jihadists will soon be over and won. “That’s why we have clearly told them the shipment of weapons should now end,” he said.
More than 2,000 terrorists ‘neutralized’
Canikli said 2,304 terrorists have been “neutralized” since Jan. 10.
“This is really one of the best results that show how successful the struggle on this issue is,” he said.
Turkish authorities use the word “neutralized” in their statements to imply the militants in question were either killed, wounded or captured.