Turkey furious at images of US soldiers with Kurdish symbols
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Turkey furious at images of US soldiers with Kurdish symbols

Ankara brands it ‘unacceptable’ for troops of an ally to display patches of YPG, which it views as a terrorist group

US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hand with Turkey's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu upon his arrival at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara, Turkey, on Friday, September 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)
US Secretary of State John Kerry, left, shakes hand with Turkey's foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu upon his arrival at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ankara, Turkey, on Friday, September 12, 2014. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

ANKARA — Turkey on Friday lashed out at the United States after images surfaced apparently showing US 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 US 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 (IS), al-Nusra and al-Qaeda 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.

A fighter from the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), holds her weapon in the village of Fatisah in the northern Syrian province of Raqa on May 25, 2016. (AFP PHOTO / DELIL SOULEIMAN)
A fighter from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), part of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), holds her weapon in the village of Fatisah in the northern Syrian province of Raqa on May 25, 2016. (AFP Photo/Delil Souleiman)

“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.

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 US-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.

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press.

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