US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham was speaking at a press conference in Turkey’s capital Ankara a day after holding talks with top Turkish officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
By arming the YPG terror group in Syria, Washington created a nightmare for Turkey, said US Republican Senator Lindsey Graham during a visit to the Turkish capital on Saturday.
Underlining that the YPG/PYD is clearly tied to the PKK — listed as a terrorist group by Turkey, the US, and the European Union — Graham told reporters that the US strategy in Syria has the potential to cause harm to Turkey.
He said ex-president Barack Obama created a nightmare for Turkey by arming the terror group.
Graham: I oppose using YPG against Daesh
“I trust Turkey to do what’s in their national security interest, which is to make sure YPG elements we (US) trained are not a threat to Turkey,” Graham told TRT World.
“If we don’t get this right we are going to regret it. We are going to regret creating a problem for Turkey, so lets fix it.”
The US senator said he is asking President Trump to “fix the problem for Turkey that we caused. How do you that? You start with Manbij, you get all the YPG elements out of Manbij. You let a governing council that will be created acceptable to Turkey and the people of Manbij.”
Watch more of TRT World‘s interview with Senator Lindsey Graham below.
Senator: Trump must slow withdrawal from Syria
The South Carolina senator stressed the importance of protecting Turkey and solving the problem the US created for Ankara, referring to US support for the terrorist YPG/PKK in the name of fighting Daesh terrorists.
Graham, a member of Congress since 1995 and a senator since 2003, serves on the Senate’s Armed Services Committee.
Turkey has long objected to the US giving support and weapons to the YPG/PKK, arguing that using one terrorist group to fight another makes no sense.
Turkey has said it will soon launch a counter-terrorist operation against the YPG/PKK in Syria, east of the Euphrates River, near the Turkish border.
There has been friction between Ankara and Washington over the upcoming operation amid the withdrawal of US forces from Syria.
“We have a chance to move on. We have an opportunity to fix our mistakes. And the time is running out, this is why I am here, ” Graham said.
TRT World’s Andrew Hopkins has more details from the capital Ankara.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people. The YPG/PYD is the group’s Syrian branch.
Senator Graham also said that the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia cannot move forward until Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is “dealt with”, without being more specific.
“The relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia cannot move forward until Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is dealt with,” Graham said.
Khashoggi was a prominent Saudi journalist and US resident who wrote opinion columns for the Washington Post. He was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in October.
Riyadh initially denied knowledge of Khashoggi’s disappearance, then offered contradictory explanations, including that he was killed in a rogue operation.
Saudi officials have said the crown prince knew nothing of the killing. Saudi Arabia said last year that 21 Saudis were taken into custody in relation to the Khashoggi case, 11 of whom have been indicted and referred to trial.
Crown Prince Mohammed’s top aide Saud al Qahtani was dismissed after overseeing the operation.
The United States imposed economic sanctions on 17 Saudi officials in November for their role in the Khashoggi killing.