Turkey upset over images of US soldiers with Kurdish symbols

AP News
Posted: May 27, 2016 7:51 AM

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey on Friday lashed out at the United States after images surfaced apparently showing U.S. soldiers in Syria wearing the insignia of a Kurdish group opposed by Ankara.

Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during an international conference in southern Turkey that it was "unacceptable" for soldiers of a Turkish ally to use the patches of the YPG — the Kurdish People's Protection Units which are fighting the Islamic State group in northern Syria.

He said Turkey had relayed its displeasure to U.S. officials in Washington and in Turkey, and rejected explanations that the patches were for the soldier's protection.

"In that case, we would recommend they use the patches of Daesh, al-Nusra and al-Qaida when they go to other parts of Syria and of Boko Haram when they go to Africa," he said in reference to Jihadi extremist groups.

"To those who say they don't consider the YPG to be the same as these terrorist groups, this is our response: this is applying double standards, this is being two-faced," Cavusoglu added.

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Turkey views the YPG as an extension of the Kurdish Workers' Party, or PKK, an armed insurgent group which it has fought for decades and is considered a terror organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Turkey is an ally in the U.S.-led coalition against IS but the two countries are at odds over the involvement of Kurdish fighters in northern Syria in the battle against the group.