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Turkish army officer rejects medal from Pentagon

Friday, 12 May 2017

Amid increasing tensions among the NATO allies, a Turkish army officer has refused a medal from the US army because of its military support for Kurdish militia in Syria. In a demonstration of the differences between the US and Turkey regarding support for Kurdish militia in Syria, a Turkish army officer has refused a medal he was awarded by the US armed forces.

The officer was due to receive the medal at a ceremony at the Incirlik Air Base in Adana, Turkey. However, when US colonel Kevin Leahy attempted to award it to him, the officer refused it on political grounds. The incident comes amid increasing tension between Ankara and the US over the latter’s support for the YPG in Syria.

Turkey sees the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a militant group seeking Kurdish autonomy which has waged an armed insurgency against the Turkish government since 1984. Tensions between Ankara and Turkish Kurds escalated in July 2015 when a ceasefire between Turkey and the PKK collapsed over a series of terrorist attacks, allegedly committed by PKK members.

While the US also considers the PKK a terrorist group, it does not share Ankara’s view of the YPG. Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump approved the supply of weapons to the Kurdish YPG fighting Daesh in Syria.

Turkey is vehemently opposed to support for Syrian Kurds, who are pushing for an autonomous region in northern Syria which Ankara fears could become a catalyst for separatism in Turkey.

“The delivery of heavy weapons to the YPG, is a crisis itself. This decision will not benefit neither the region, nor the United States, while the consequences will impact not only the region and Turkey, but the whole world and primarily the United States. Turkey does not have the strength to single-handedly change this game, but it does have forces to protect its interests,” Isik told the Turkish NTV broadcaster.

Source by: Internet

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