President Donald Trump and Turkey’s president promised to co-operate amidst the tense ties. The two met at the White House on Tuesday, they also pledged to work through the YPG issue. Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently gave a stern warning on Washington arming Kurdish militia.
Erdogan had a list of complaints on U.S. support for Kurdish fighters. The two leaders also wanted to face their differences and renew a key alliance between NATO’s leading power and its biggest Muslim member.
Erdogan made a statement saying that the Kurdish Peoples’ Protection Units (YPG) cannot be considered by the U.S. as a partner in Syria, adding that it would be against a global agreement that was reached.
He also warned that groups that want to change the ethnic or religious structures in the region by using terrorism as a pretext should not be tolerated. Most importantly, he said that the Kurds are using the anti-Isis fight as cover for separatist nationalism.
President Trump also paid tribute to Turkey’s historical contributions to the Western Alliance’s Cold War battles. Trump said that we’re facing a new enemy in the fight against terrorism and again we seek to face this threat together.
Erdoğan is angry that the United States continues to host Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who has now been accused of masterminding last year’s bloody attempted coup. Erdoğan emphasized that he would never accept an autonomous YPG-led Kurdish area in Syria, he also expressed his expectation that Washington hand over Gulen.
The two went for meetings and lunch with US secretary of state Rex Tillerson to dig deeper in to the issues. President Trump hopes to secure the reluctant Turkish agreement not to oppose the US-led drive by YPG fighters to oust the Islamic State.
Mr. Trump will in return assure Erdoğan that Gulen will be closely monitored while the US courts examine an extradition request and that Washington will eventually endorse a Turkish offensive against PKK bases in Sinjar, northern Iraq.
Pentagon’s confirmation that it has increased its support for the YPG dashed the hopes of Turkish officials. The Turks had seen Trump’s victory as a chance to turn a new page.
Pentagon will directly arm its fighters ahead of the battle to oust the Islamic State. Ankara regards the YPG as the Syrian arm of the terrorist PKK.