Accessibility links

Breaking News

Turkey Calls For Ouster Of U.S. Envoy To Anti-IS Coalition

Brett McGurk visited Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria on May 17. (file photo)

Turkey is calling for the ouster of the U.S. envoy to the international coalition fighting the extremist group Islamic State (IS), accusing him of supporting Kurdish militias.

Brett McGurk is "definitely giving support" to Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on May 18.

McGurk visited Kurdish-controlled areas in northern Syria on May 17 and met with YPG commanders, according to Kurdish media.

"It would be useful if this person was replaced," Cavusoglu told broadcaster NTV after a visit by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Washington this week.

Washington and Ankara are at odds over U.S. plans to support the YPG, a Syrian Kurdish militia battling IS militants.

Ankara considers the YPG to be a terrorist group linked to the outlawed PKK, which has been fighting a decades-long insurgency in Turkey.

The United States and the European Union also consider the PKK to be a terrorist organization.

Cavusoglu also said that Germany is free to withdraw its troops stationed at the Incirlik air base near the Turkish border with Syria if it wants to, adding that Berlin should drop its "patronizing approach" to Ankara.

Germany says it is considering moving the roughly 270 troops deployed at Incirlik to serve with the coalition against IS if Turkey continues to block German lawmakers from visiting the base.

The Turkish move is seen in part as a response to Germany's decision to grant political asylum to Turkish soldiers accused of involvement in a failed coup last July.

With reporting by Reuters, dpa, AFP, and Rudaw