ANKARA (Reuters) - No one has the right to tell Turkey which terrorist organisation it can fight, a Turkish minister said on Monday, as the NATO member faced criticism over an incursion into northern Syria which has seen clashes with Kurdish militia fighters.
“No one has the right to tell us which terrorist organisation we can fight against and which one to ignore,” Turkey’s minister for European Union affairs, Omer Celik, told a news conference in Ankara.
Turkey-backed forces pushed deeper into northern Syria on Monday, drawing a rebuke from NATO ally the United States, which said it was concerned the battle for territory had shifted away from Islamic State.
The United States is backing the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in the fight against Islamic State. Turkey, part of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Sunni hardline group, considers the YPG to be a terrorist organisation and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
Reporting by Ece Toksabay; Writing by David Dolan; Editing by Nick Tattersall