Turkey condemns US over Syria strategy

The United States’ decision to exempt YPG-controlled areas in northern Syria from American sanctions is discriminatory and aims to legitimize the PKK/YPG terror organization, Turkey’s diplomat has said.

“This is a selective and discriminatory move. They will have flexibility on [the implementation of] Caesar Act in certain areas,” Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said at a joint press conference with visiting Democratic Republic of Congo’s Foreign Minister Christophe Lutundula Apala on May 13 in Istanbul.

The U.S.’ Caesar Act prevents private companies from investing and running businesses in the Syrian territories as part of the sanctions imposed on Damascus. The U.S. Treasury Department lifted prohibitions on business activities in 12 different economic sectors in northern Syria, including agriculture, telecommunications, power grid infrastructure, construction, manufacturing, trade, finance and clean energy.

Most of these regions are under the control of the YPG, the U.S.’ partner in the fight against ISIL. Turkey has long been opposing the U.S. partnership with the YPG as it is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, a terror organization acknowledged by the U.S., the EU and U.N.

Çavuşoğlu said the exemption would be implemented in areas where the YPG/PKK are overwhelmingly present but not in areas such as Afrin, a northern Syrian town cleared from the PKK terrorists by the Turkish army.