Aug 1, 2017, 3:16 PM
News Code: 82617568
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Turkey angry with US claim of Turkey backing al-Qaeda

Ankara, Aug 1, IRNA – Turkish Presidential spokesperson Ibrahim Kalin reacted to the US accusing Turkey of supporting al-Qaeda on Tuesday and said the claims are 'groundless'.

Kalin said that US Special Presidential Envoy for Global Coalition to counter Daesh Brett McGurk's remarks linking Turkey with groups affiliate to al-Qaeda in Idlib are 'baseless'.

He added the claim that Turkey is cooperating with the terrorists groups and al-Qaeda is 'unacceptable'.

He said in such a high tensioned region in which Russian, American, and People's Protection Units (YPG) are present, any movement would be observed.

The remarks were not made with good faith, because the US has not been victorious in Syria, it is looking for a fall guy, Kalin said.

Speaking at a panel on Trump's fight against terrorism in the Middle East Institute in Washington on Friday, McGurk claimed that Idlib has turned into a 'safe zone for al-Qaida terrorists on the Turkish border.'

“Idlib province is the largest Al Qaeda safe haven since 9/11 ... This is a huge problem ... But we have to ask a question: Why and how is Ayman al Zawahiri’s [leader of Al Qaeda] deputy finding his way to Idlib province? Why is this happening? How are they getting there? They are not paratroopers … The approach by some of our partners to send in tens of thousands of tons of weapons and looking the other way as these foreign fighters come in to Syria may not have been the best approach. And Al Qaeda has taken full advantage of it. And Idlib now is a huge problem. It is an Al Qaeda safe haven right on the border of Turkey. So that’s something, obviously, we will be in very close discussions with the Turks on.”

Turkey and the US have been at odds for years regarding US support of the PYD in Syria. PYD is the Syrian affiliate of PKK, which has been fighting Turkey for more than 30 years, and is designated as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the EU.