Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed a US decision to provide arms to the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and demanded that it be reversed, heightening tensions between the NATO allies days before the Turkish leader heads to Washington for a meeting with President Donald Trump.
Erdoğan said on Wednesday that the fight against terrorism “should not be led with another terror organization” — a reference to the Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the YPG, which Turkey considers an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984.
“We want to know that our allies will side with us and not with terror organizations,” he said.
Erdoğan said he would take up the issue during a planned meeting with Trump on Tuesday. “I hope that they will turn away from this wrong [decision],” he said.
Turkey, which has sent troops to northern Syria in an effort to curtail Kurdish expansion along its borders, has for months tried to lobby Washington to cut off ties with the Kurds and work instead with Turkish-backed opposition fighters in the fight to recapture ISIL’s de facto capital of Raqqa.