Turkey to oppose NATO plan if it fails to recognize Kurdish militia as terrorists: Erdoğan

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U.S. President Donald Trump (R) speaks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as they arrive for a working dinner at the Art and History Museum in The Parc du Cinquantenaire - Jubelpark Park in Brussels on July 11, 2018, during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) summit. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Geert Vanden Wijngaert

Turkey will oppose NATO’s plan for the defense of Baltic countries if the alliance does not recognize groups that Turkey deems terrorists, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday, ahead of a NATO alliance summit in London, Reuters reported.

Relations between Turkey and its NATO allies have been strained over a host of issues, ranging from Ankara’s decision to procure a Russian air defense system to Syria policy. Several NATO members condemned Turkey’s decision to launch an offensive into northeastern Syria against the Kurdish militia.

Ankara has refused to back a NATO defense plan for the Baltics and Poland until it receives more support for its battle with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which it views as a terrorist organization.

Ahead of his departure from Ankara for the NATO summit, Erdoğan said he had spoken to Polish President Andrzej Duda on the phone on Monday and had agreed to meet with him and leaders of Baltic countries in London to discuss the issue.

“With pleasure, we can come together and discuss these issues there as well,” he said. “But if our friends at NATO do not recognize as terrorist organizations those we consider terrorist organizations … we will stand against any step that will be taken there.”

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