Turkish gov’t issues detention warrant for prominent US diplomat McGurk

Turkish government has issued a detention warrant for Brett McGurk, US Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIl), reported by Habertürk daily on Wednesday.

A petition has been filed to the Ankara Chief Prosecutor’s Office accusing McGurk of attempting to overthrow the Turkish government and change the constitutional order of the Turkish Republic through ‘acting in concert with the PKK-PYD-YPG armed terrorist organisations’, the newspaper said.

Turkish government says the Syrian Kurdish PYD and its YPG military wing, which is assisted by the United States in the fight against ISIL, is a wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The newspaper said the petition requested that the Turkish military to arrest McGurk if found in Syria or Iraq and bring him back to Turkey. The petition was made by a non-governmental group set up to fight against the alleged members of the Gülen movement as part of Turkish government’s massive post-coup witch hunt campaign targeting the movement which has been inspired by the US-based Turkish-Muslim scholar Fethullah Gülen.

“The suspect has been on the northern Iraq–Syrian axis for a long time acting in concert with terrorist organisations. He has co-ordinated these organisations, provided organisation militants with weapons and ensured they received training,” the petition said.

In April 2017, the İstanbul Chief  Prosecutor Office launched an investigation into 17 prominent US figures including Senator Chuck Schumer, former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, former CIA Director John Brenan and US academic Henri Barkey for alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement. The investigation is based on allegations of “attempting to overthrow the constitutional order” and “attempting to overthrow the government and Parliament.”

Meanwhile, US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Jonathan Cohen has reportedly said that ties between the US and Turkey are “strategic and lasting” while Washington’s relations with the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are “temporary, transactional and tactical.”

According to a report by Hürriyet daily news on Wednesday, “The reason for our relations with YPG is that we feel there is no alternative in Syria. We needed a partner in the field to drive the ISIL out of Raqqa and the current power capable of doing that was the YPG,” said Cohen during the Washington-based Middle East Institute’s (MEI) eighth annual conference on Turkey.

“Our relations with the YPG are going to transform in the transition stage from the war in Syria to a period of stability. We are now in that process. This is a transformation that we see right now. It is very difficult to guess how this will happen and when, but it will change in time,” Cohen said.

He pointed to “two main problems” ties between Ankara and Washington at the moment. “The first one is the arrest of American citizens in Turkey and local personnel at the US representative offices, and the decision to suspend visas caused by this. The second one is the U.S.’s relations with the YPG,” Cohen said.

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