Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

US Plans to Supply Antitank Weapons to Kurdish Fighters in Syria

US Plans to Supply Antitank Weapons to Kurdish Fighters in Syria

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will meet President Trump in the White House on Tuesday, May 16.

Turkey has been one of the most vocal opponents of Syrian President Bashar al Assad since the civil war in neighboring Syria erupted 6 years ago. He was quick to place a congratulatory call to the president last month after he narrowly won a flawed referendum on a huge expansion of his powers.

But then, on May 9, just one week before Erdogan's White House visit, the United States announced it would provide weapons to the YPG, Kurdish forces fighting as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the rebels who are now planning to assault Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State.

The United States and Turkey were on the same page when chose to wage a war against ISIS in Syria; however, Turkey's new involvement inside Syria and disagreement with the Kurdish militia may bring about a change in the Middle East dilemma. The decision to arm the YPG drove Ankara ballistic. As of May 15, it is clear that Russian Federation and the USA have united in protecting the YPG against Turkish attacks as long as the fight against ISIL continues and the YPG (or the PKK) is ready to die in the fight against ISIL where the US doesn't want to send its own infantry. Therefore, the U.S. president's decision to supply heavy weapons to the Syrian Kurds was a cold shower for the leadership of Turkey. Last week, President Vladimir Putin sent his foreign minister Sergey Lavrov to the White House to meet with the U.S. President.

Erdogan's next move could be to cancel his Washington visit in light of the YPG arms move.

Last week the Trump administration announced it will arm Syria's Kurdish fighters "as necessary" to recapture the key ISIS stronghold of Raqqa. Departing to China on a visit on May 12, before officially meeting with Trump in Washington, Turkish President Erdogan pointed out that the upcoming visit to Washington will be a turning point in the relations between the two countries: "The meeting with Trump will not be at a comma distance, but at a point distance".

The United States and Turkey are seemingly not on the same page regarding confronting terrorism as the United States is colluding with Syrian Kurds after the U.S. has set a key objective of defeating ISIS militants; however, Turkey has taken a stand against arming Kurds, perceiving Kurds as terrorists.

Others agree. "We know there's going to be a deal".

The issue was already driving a wedge between the USA and Turkey during the Obama administration.

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"We do not ever give weapons to the PKK, we never have and never will". Trump and Erdogan will likely discuss the implementation of the peace process, as well as the de-escalation zones, Russia's role and Iran's involvement.

The post Erdogan urges United States to "immediately" reverse decision on arming Syrian Kurds appeared first on The Independent Uganda:.

Those include extraditing Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan blames for fomenting a failed coup last summer, and dropping USA charges against Reza Zarrab, a Turkish businessman accused of money-laundering and violating US sanctions in Iran.

Turkey, the only majority Muslim country in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation alliance, hosts more than 2,500 USA troops at Incirlik, a key launching point for air strikes against the Islamic State. If Erdogan can accept that his expectations cannot be realized because of the constraints of USA law and national security interests but that he will be treated as an equal and there will be no interference or even harsh commentary regarding his domestic policies, these two birds of a feather should flock together for the mutual benefit of their respective national security interests.

Erdogan is expected to ask Trump directly to extradite Gulen. But, Putin added, Russian Federation would not seek to provide the PYD with more arms, since there are other sources from which they could find weapons. Erdogan, for his part, signaled he's willing to look the other way on Trump's apparent anti-Muslim measures.

Erdogan welcomed Trump's election victory last November and said he hoped it would lead to "beneficial steps" in the Middle East.

"It will not be very easy to put relations back on track", Ozel said.

"Now we will conduct the final talks", Erdogan said. He'll get the handshake in the Oval Office.

Human Rights First notes that Turkey has been an important contributor to alleviating human sufferning by providing refuge to over three million Syrian refugees.

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