Turkey demands US envoy sacking

Turkey demands US envoy sacking

Turkey says Brett McGurk, the US special envoy for combatting so-called Islamic State, should be removed because he supports Kurdish militants in Syria. 

Meanwhile, the White House strongly criticised the Turkish government after video showed Erdogan’s security forces pushing past police and violently breaking up a protest outside Turkey’s diplomatic residence in Washington.

Punching and kicking the protesters, men in dark suits and others were recorded repeatedly kicking one woman as she lay curled on a pavement. Another pulled a woman’s neck and threw her to the ground. A man with a loudhailer (pictured) is repeatedly kicked in the face. Nine protesters were injured.

Ankara warned it would act unilaterally if it faced attack from the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which it accuses of having links to the Kurdish Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey.

On Tuesday at the White House President Tayyip Erdogan and Donald Trump met. Trump’s decision to arm the YPG fighters who hope to recapture the Isis-held Syrian city of Raqqa.

Ankara regards the YPG militia as an extension of PKK militants fighting a decades-old insurgency in southeast Turkey, while US sees the YPG as its most reliable ally for the Raqqa campaign.

Turkey has argued that US policy against Isis in Syria has favoured the YPG rather than Arab rebels. Erdogan’s government has partly blamed the stance on McGurk, the US envoy to the international coalition against the terror group.

“Brett McGurk, the USA’s special envoy in the fight against Daesh [Isis], is definitely and clearly giving support to the PKK and YPG. It would be beneficial if this person is changed,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told NTV.

The US, Turkey and EU label the PKK as a terrorist organisation.

Erdogan, speaking in Washington after meeting Trump, said he had told the tycoon-president that Turkey would not hesitate to strike if it faced any attack from the YPG.

“We clearly told them this: if there is any sort of attack from the YPG and PYD against Turkey, we will implement the rules of engagement without asking anyone,” he told Turkish reporters, according to the Sabah newspaper. The PYD is the YPG’s political wing.

Picture credit: YouTube

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