Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Turkey's Erdogan demands US reverse decision

Turkey's Erdogan demands US reverse decision

Turkey warned the United States on Wednesday that a decision to arm Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State in Syria could end up hurting Washington, and accused its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally of siding with terrorists. "We want to believe that our allies would prefer be side by side with ourselves rather than with the terror groups", he added.

He spoke during a joint news conference with the visiting president of Sierra Leone.

"We expect that this mistake is to be rectified", he said, days ahead of a meeting in Washington between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.

"We hope the USA administration will put a stop to this wrong and turn back from it", he said.

The US-led coalition said a first consignment of weapons was already in place for delivery and could be dispatched to the Kurds "very quickly".

Fikri Isik also told private NTV television on Wednesday that Turkey has the power to defend its national interests in Syria, though he did not elaborate.

Ankara has argued that Washington should switch support for the Raqqa assault from the YPG to Syrian rebels that Turkey has trained and led against ISIS for the past year - despite Washington's scepticism about their military capability.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the fight against the jihadists should not involve "another terrorist group".

FILE - This April 30, 2017, photo provided by the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF), shows a fighter from the SDF carrying weapons as he looks toward the northern town of Tabqa, Syria.

Speaking on a joint press conference with Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma in Ankara, Erdogan said" A terrorist group can not be defeated with another one,"quoted by local private broadcaster NTV.

"Every single one of these weapons that are being provided to our partner force, we intend to account for them, and to ensure that they are pointed at ISIL", he said.

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The United States views the PKK and YPG as two separate groups. "A negative outcome will also emerge for the United States".

However, the USA has supported the PKK and the PYD as its ally on the ground in combating IS in Syria. The YPG hailed the move as "historic" and said it would now play "a more influential, powerful, and decisive role" in fighting IS.

The U.S. on Tuesday announced that U.S. President Donald Trump authorised the Department of Defense to provide small arms, machine guns, ammunition, armoured vehicles and other equipment to the Syrian Kurds.

"Every single one" of the weapons will be accounted for, and the USA will "assure they are pointed at ISIS", Dorrian said, using an alternate acronym for IS.

Ankara strongly opposes US support of the YPG, viewing it as the Syrian extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a three-decade insurgency within Turkey.

The U.S. decision to arm the Kurdish militia, considered an important American ally in Syria and the most capable ground force available for the Raqqa operation, was announced Tuesday.

Turkey says YPG fighters are linked to Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) separatists inside Turkey who have waged an armed campaign since 1984 that has killed more than 40,000 people.

Curiously, the Turkish government seemed to lack a "red line" against ISIS as the terror group gained momentum - and Turkey appeared to stand by as minorities were massacred along their border, from Kobani to Sinjar.

There is no reality in the comments that a ground operation against Daesh ( ISIS) can only be successful with the YPG. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for IS.

"Our forces have seized control of both the dam and the city of Tabqa", SDF spokeswoman Jihan Sheikh Ahmed told Al Jazeera on Wednesday.

In making this decision, President Trump has upset President Erdogan of Turkey.

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