ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Turkey could 'by accident' hit United States forces embedded with Kurdish fighters in Syrian Kurdistan, suggested a chief advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, in remarks that may further damage strained US-Turkey relations.
Speaking to the Istanbul-based radio station CRI FM, Erdogan's chief advisor on Kurdish affairs Ilnur Cevik was answering a question about US deployment of troops and tanks with the People's Protection Units (YPG) to prevent new cross-border Turkish attacks.
Cevik stated it did not matter for his country that US troops were patrolling the Syria-Turkey border.
"If those PKK terrorists continue their activities inside Turkey, as you know they are infiltrating from northern Syria... What happened to Daesh? We went there suddenly one night and found ourselves in al-Bab. The same thing is valid for northern Syria," said Cevik, referring to the 2016 Turkish incursion into a pocket of land in Syria.
"If they [YPG] go too far, our [forces won't care] that American armored vehicles are there... Unexpectedly, a number of rockets may also hit them by accident," continued Cevik, surprising even the radio host he was talking to.
"Except this would prove a difficult situation. You spoke harsh," reacted the host whose program's content appeared in Turkish media.
"If they [the US] do this [partent with YPG], what are you supped to do?" rebuked Erdogan's advisor.
Cevik's statement hinting a Turkish attack on Amerian forces came as a domestically emboldened Erdogan is preparing to meet with US President Donald Trump in the White House on May 16, in which American-Kurdish alliance will be top on the agenda.
Erdogan over the weekend said he would appeal to Trump to stop working with the YPG that he claims has ties with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) that is fighting Turkish troops for larger Kurdish rights.
Both NATO allies designate PKK as "terrorist," but Washington does not agree with Ankara that the same can be said of YPG, the primary US ally in Syria in the war on the Islamic State (IS).
Surprise Turkish airstrikes late April on America's Kurdish allies in Iraq and Syria that killed at least 25 fighters from both YPG and Kurdistan Region's Peshmerga drew US anger, while Turkey argued it acted against "terrorists."
A spokesperson for the US Army, Col. John Dorrian said the Coalition was informed of an impending attack with only a 52 minutes notice and American forces were within six miles of the Turkish strikes on Mount Qarachokh, northeastern Syria.
Despite US protestations from the State Department as well as the Pentagon, Erdogan promised further attacks on the YPG last Saturday and said he was "saddened to see the flag of a terrorist group like YPG flying in the same convoy with that of the US."
Editing by Ava Homa