Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said Turkey would “do what is necessary for its security” after what it described as a rise in cross-border attacks by the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG).
The comments were made by Turkey’s top diplomat on Tuesday, a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said an attack that Ankara blamed on the YPG that killed two Turkish police was “the final straw” and that Turkey was determined to eliminate threats originating in northern Syria.
Turkey said police in northern Syria’s Azaz region were hit in a guided missile attack on Sunday launched by the YPG.
On Monday, shells believed to have been fired from a YPG-controlled area further east exploded in two areas of Karkamis in southern Turkey, Ankara said.
The YPG is backed by the United States but Ankara says the group is the Syrian wing of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been designated a “terror” group by Turkey and its NATO allies.
Speaking at a news conference in Ankara on Tuesday, Cavusoglu said the United States and Russia had not kept their promises to ensure the YPG withdraw from the Syrian border area.
“Both countries [the US and Russia] have said these terrorists will be taken 30km down [from the border] … promises have not been kept … both the US and Russia have responsibility for the recent attacks, because they did not keep their promises, and these terrorists are still there,” Cavusoglu said.
“We need to sort this out ourselves. We will cleanse this region of terrorists, we will do whatever is necessary for our security.”
The US embassy on Tuesday expressed condolences to the police officers’ families and condemned the reported mortar attacks.
But Cavusoglu said the US message showed “insincerity” since Washington had armed and trained the YPG.
“You are providing them with arms and then making a statement for show only. The insincerity is obvious there,” he said, referring to Washington.
“They do not stick to their promises, therefore we will do what’s necessary for our security.”
Turkey controls swaths of territory in northern Syria with allied Syrian rebels after carrying out three separate cross-border incursions into the region against ISIL (ISIS) and the YPG. Ankara has demanded the US cease its support to the YPG.
In separate agreements with Moscow and Washington in 2019, Turkey halted its incursion in northeast Syria in exchange for the withdrawal of YPG fighters 30km south of its border, but has since repeatedly complained of violations and accused both countries of not keeping promises.