Monday, October 05, 2015

US Sees "clear separation between YPG and PKK"

Daily Press Briefing Index Monday, October 5, 2015
Briefer: Mark Toner, Deputy Spokesperson

My questions to Mark Toner during daily press briefing:

QUESTION: Two quick questions. One is that just to follow up on the YPG question, are you aware of the many of the PKK militants joining the YPG? If you are, do you think this kind of makes more blurry about the separation between the YPG and PKK?
MR TONER: Sure. I’m – sorry, just to make sure I am I aware of elements of the PKK joining with the YPG?

US: there is clear separation between YPG and PKK
MR TONER: I’m not, so it’s hard for me to answer that question. We’ve always seen a clear separation between the two – excuse me. It’s unclear whether these individuals, if that were to happen – whether they renounced their affiliation. I just don’t know. I don’t have enough information about it. We obviously view, as I just said, the PKK as a terrorist organization.
QUESTION: (Off-mike.)
MR TONER: Let’s let him finish, and then I’ll --
QUESTION: In light of today’s Russian incursion into Syrian airspace -- 
MR TONER: In Turkish airspace.
QUESTION: Russian incursion into Turkish, yes. Do you think the ISIL-free zone in the in north of Syria by the Turkey border now the plans to create that territory is more or harder than before?

MR TONER: Well, first of all, as Matt and I just touched on or I touched on with Matt, is this incursion into Turkish airspace has demonstrated the importance of consultation and restraint in shaping an international response. Frankly, we view this incursion as reckless, and it’s dangerous, provocative, and it can cause accidents and miscalculation and risks the safety of airmen and airwomen in Turkey and elsewhere. So we would have serious concerns about that.

US: NFZ is not necessary
As to the creation of sorry a zone or a no-fly zone or whatever we call it, we’ve been pretty clear about the fact that we don’t think it’s necessary and we don’t think it’s feasible on the ground. It involves a lot of logistical support that we don’t have in place right now to maintain such a venture.
QUESTION: But you agreed with Turkey to remove ISIL elements from that area by the Turkish border. Is that still the understanding?
MR TONER: Well, of course. That absolutely has not changed at all. I mean, we are in close consultations with Turkey. We just differ on the need for a no-fly zone. And as I said, they entail a set of logistical questions how to enforce it, what it needs in terms of equipment, support, et cetera. DOD would be much more able to answer some of those details and what it involves, but we just don’t support it. That said, we have been very clear about the need to work with Turkey on securing its border. That’s absolutely one of our priorities.

US calls on Turkey to respect the media freedoms
QUESTION: Thank you. Mark, since you have briefing here last time for about 10 days ago, there is a one of the most well-known journalists in Turkey got beaten up in front of his house in Turkey, and many human rights organizations are protesting. So far Mr. President Erdogan has not condemned the incident. Today, there is another major newspaper’s head resigned in Turkey, citing some of the pressure on the newspaper. I was wondering if you have anything more on the press freedom issues in Turkey.
MR TONER: Sure. You’re talking, I think, about the attack on Ahmet Hakan. 
MR TONER: Yeah, Turkish journalist. We’re obviously deeply disturbed by this brutal attack. We urge Turkish authorities to investigate thoroughly and to prosecute the perpetrators in accordance with Turkish law. And more broadly, we call on Turkey to respect the media freedoms and the due process protections that are enshrined in the Turkish constitution as well as in its OSCE commitments. 

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