By arming the YPG group in Syria, Washington “created a nightmare for Turkey,” said a senior US senator during a visit to the Turkish capital on Saturday.
Underlining that the YPG/PYD is “clearly” tied to the PKK – listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the US, and the European Union – Senator Lindsey Graham told reporters that the US strategy in Syria has the potential to cause harm to Turkey.
The South Carolina senator stressed the importance of protecting Turkey and solving the problem the US “created” for Ankara, referring to US support for the YPG/PYD in the name of fighting Daesh terrorists.
He highlighted that the planned US pullout from Syria must work to rectify past mistakes and that a withdrawal failing to destroy the Daesh terror group, contain Iran, and protect Turkey would only result in a broader conflict and “chaos.”
US President Donald Trump’s surprise pullout announcement last month followed a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which the two agreed on the need for more effective coordination over the civil war-torn country.
“President Trump should be very cautious in how he withdraws and not dump this problem on Turkey’s lap,” said Graham, adding that it would be “insane” for Turkey to have to fight elements armed by the US in Syria.
Citing the threat to Turkey as well as Syria’s territorial integrity, Turkey has said it will soon launch a counter-terrorist operation against the YPG/PYD in Syria, east of the Euphrates River, near the Turkish border.
Graham also praised Turkey for taking in 4 million refugees from the Syria war, thanking Turks for their “generosity, care” and efforts to provide Syrian children with an education.
He also thanked Ankara for working to clear up the “gruesome murder” last October of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.
On the alleged role of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Khashoggi killing, he said Washington has to deal with “bad people,” adding that US-Saudi relations cannot move forward until bin Salman had been “dealt with.”