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Advisor says US should be thankful for Erdoğan’s goodwill, patience

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Chief advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and columnist İlnur Çevik has said the US should be thankful for Erdoğan’s goodwill and patience in the wake of a recent US decision to provide arms to the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The US move has heightened tensions between the NATO allies days before the Turkish leader heads to Washington for a meeting with President Donald Trump. Turkey sees the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been waging a bloody war in Turkey’s Southeast since 1984.

In an article published in the Yeni Birlik daily on Friday, Çevik said although Ankara has been very much disturbed about the US decision to provide arms to the YPG, Erdoğan said he hopes Trump will abandon the decision, meaning that he will try to convince the US president to reverse the mistake during his US visit.

“Our president approaches the issue with goodwill and patience. But the Americans should understand that well. About the Kurdish issue, our president demonstrated an outstanding goodwill and patience, he did more than what he should have. The PKK did not read this well. By abusing the settlement process [which was launched several years ago between the government and the PKK to resolve the Kurdish issue but failed], it made preparations for a rebellion. Then, our president, who ran out of patience, gave them a hard slap, and he continues to do so. Those who tested the patience of our president have always lost, and they will continue to lose. This applies to the US as well,” wrote Çelik.

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.

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