Dear Members of Congress:
On behalf of the Assembly of Turkish American Associations (ATAA), which serves as the voice of over 500,000 Turkish Americans and 60 local Turkish American organizations nationwide, I am writing to express our grave concern over the United States’ support for the PKK linked People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.
The YPG poses a direct national security threat to Turkey, a strategic military and political ally of the United States and NATO member since 1952.
The YPG is an armed wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD), a Kurdish nationalist group linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been declared by Turkey, the United States, the European Union, NATO, and major world governments a terrorist organization having taken thousands of lives in Turkey since early 1980s.
Both YPG and PKK’s close ties have been acknowledged by many US officials including the former US Defense Secretary Ash Carter during a Q&A session at the Armed Services Committee hearings. 1
Recently, an official report prepared by US National Security Director Daniel Coats and presented to the US Congress acknowledged that YPG, the Syrian wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), is seeking autonomy in Syria. 2
In addition, the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), under its “The World Factbook” section, Syria subcategory, has officially confirmed that the Democratic Union Party (PYD) is the Syrian wing of the internationally recognized terror group PKK. 3
YPG poses a direct national security threat to Turkey
The YPG, sharing the same strategic directions and resources along with PKK in Syria poses a direct national security threat to Turkey. The US weapons given to the YPG directly threaten Turkey, as they easily pass into the hands of PKK fighters inside Turkey and Iraq. In June 2016, during anti-PKK operations near the Syrian border, the Turkish army seized joint Swedish and US-made anti-tank rockets from the PKK, which clearly showed that the YPG was transferring US-provided arms to the PKK.
ATAA supports Turkish state’s right to defend itself against YPG terror
Turkey’s Operation Olive Branch is being carried out in full respect of Syria’s territorial integrity, political unity, and national security in order to eliminate the YPG, PKK and ISIS terrorists in Syria under the framework of Turkey’s rights based on UN Security Council resolutions and its right to self-defense under the UN charter’s Article 51. Operation Olive Branch aims to establish stability along the Turkey-Syria border region, to protect Syrian civilians from the terrorist groups’ attacks and to ensure the safe return of displaced Syrians to their homes.
United States should stop supporting YPG
The ongoing US support for YPG jeopardizes not only the security of Turkey, which has been America’s closest friend in the war against terrorism, but the mutual trust and the long-standing partnership between the two countries. As a frontline state, Turkey has the right to defend itself against YPG terrorism, wherever the YPG may be, and expects the United States to fulfill its duty to help Turkey incapacitate the YPG.
Ending the US support for YPG now and forever is the right thing to do, if eradication of terrorism is a common goal among allies, and if we are not to sacrifice the long term security and stability in the Middle East for short-term tactical interests in Syria.
Assembly of Turkish American Associations