Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday met with Prime Minister of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (IKRG) Nechervan Barzani in İstanbul, amid tension between Turkey, Syrian Kurds and the US following Turkish military operations in Syria and Iraq.
According to the Turkish media, Erdoğan and Barzani had a 45-minute meeting that was closed to the press at the historic Mabeyn Palace in the Yıldız Palace complex in İstanbul.
The meeting came days after the Turkish Air Force carried out a number of airstrikes against outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) targets in Sinjar, Iraq, and Karaçok, Syria. Following the strikes, clashes erupted on the Syrian border between Turkish forces and the Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG).
Acting US State Department spokesperson Mark Toner criticized Turkey for attacking Kurdish militants in Syria and Iraq early on Tuesday, adding that the airstrikes were not approved by the US-led coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). He also emphasized that coordination is necessary to protect coalition personnel serving in both Syria and Iraq.
On Friday, the Turkish military announced that 11 YPG militants were killed in retaliation for a rocket attack.
In the meantime the US Department of Defense has confirmed news that US special forces are operating along the Syrian-Turkish border in areas under the control of the YPG.
The Turkish military had earlier stated that 11 border posts had been subjected to 13 attacks from areas controlled by the YPG, which is considered a terrorist group by Ankara due to its links to the PKK.