“We are helping the Peshmerga cross into Kobani. Our discussions are still underway,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said during a joint press conference with Tunisian Foreign Minister Mongi Hamdi.
Although Cavusoglu did not elaborate on the ongoing discussions, Foreign Ministry sources confirmed that crossings of Peshmerga forces through Turkey had already begun.
Turkey had been in “full cooperation with the international coalition over Kobani,” Cavusoglu said.
“We have never wanted Kobani to fall [into the hands of the Islamic State - IS] and never will. Turkey has made every effort to prevent that. Turkey sent humanitarian assistance and medical equipment. We have been in full cooperation with coalition forces for Kobani. We want the region to be cleaned of all threats,” he said.
Arms are for joint fighters defending Kobani
The U.S. Central Command said it had delivered on Oct. 19 weapons, ammunition and medical supplies provided by Kurdish authorities in Iraq “in the vicinity of Kobani, Syria, to resupply Kurdish forces on the ground defending the city against IS.”
Cavusoglu said Turkey viewed that U.S. air-dropped arms to Syrian rebels fighting in Kobani as part of these efforts.
The forces fighting in Kobani are not only from the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), he said, noting that there are seven or eight other groups of Syrian rebels that formed a joint operations room for the defense of the town called “Euphrates Volcano.”
He renewed calls for the PYD to cooperate with the wider FSA opposition and to abandon its efforts to carve out autonomous Kurdish regions in Syria. The PYD will not obtain Turkey’s support so long as it continues to pursue its goal of controlling a specific part of Syria, he said.
Cavusoglu’s statement came after a phone call from U.S. President Barack Obama to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the weekend, during which he gave advance notice to his Turkish counterpart of its plans to deliver arms to the Syrian Kurds.
“President Obama spoke to Erdogan yesterday and was able to notify him of our intent to do this and the importance that we put on it,” Reuters quoted a senior U.S. official as saying.
Turkish diplomatic sources told the Hurriyet Daily News that the U.S. military did not use Turkish air space in air-dropping arms from the KRG to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), as the YPG continues to battle the Islamic State (IS) in Kobani.
Meanwhile, U.S. military air-drop of arms was a response to a crisis situation and did not represent a change in U.S. policy, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said on Oct. 20.