Turkey protests U.S. envoy's remarks on Turkish links with terror group
ANKARA, July 30 (Xinhua) -- Turkey protested Sunday remarks of a U.S. Special Envoy that links Turkey with presence of terror groups in northern Syria.
The remarks of Brett McGurk, the U.S. special envoy for the global coalition against the Islamic State (IS), were slammed by Huseyin Muftuoglu, spokesperson of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, as "provocative," according to a written statement from the spokesperson.
Turkish embassy in Washington would also issue a demarche regarding the issue, he added.
McGurk said at a panel in the Middle East Institute in Washington on Friday that Idlib has turned into a "safe zone for al-Qaida terrorists on the Turkish border."
A Turkish Foreign Ministry official source said on condition of anonymity that the remarks were considered implying Turkey's role for presence of al-Nusra group in Idlib.
McGurk also said at the panel that the U.S. intended to work with Turkey to close down the northeastern border to recruited militants.
The envoy said it might not be the best approach for some partners of the U.S. "to send tens of thousands of weapons and turn their faces to the other side as foreign fighters enter this area."
Deputy Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry Sedat Onal asked the U.S. envoy by phone to "correct" his statements if not aimed any provocation, said the official source.
The Turkish diplomat warned McGurk that these kinds of remarks could harm the grounds of cooperation between the U.S. and Turkey at a time that Washington is seeking cooperation with the Turkish government for post-IS period in Syria, it added.
McGurk draws Turkey's ire particularly after his visits to the ranks of the People's Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria, which Ankara views as the offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
In May, Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu demanded the U.S. remove the pro-Kurdish envoy.