Kurds Trump Turkey in the Fight Against ISIS in Raqqa
- Author: Leroy Wright May 25, 2017,
May 25, 2017, 2:10
Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus also said it was "unacceptable" for NATO-member Turkey to tolerate the arming of terrorist organisations by its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.
Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said after talks in London last week with U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis that Trump's meeting with Erdogan would be an opportunity to "correct the mistake" of support for the YPG.
Angered by a US decision to arm Kurdish YPG fighters in Syria, Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan heads to Washington this week for talks with Donald Trump seeking either to change the president's mind or to "sort things out ourselves".
"After Brexit we will have a free trade agreement prepared and signed as soon as possible between the United Kingdom and Turkey", he said.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the USA responded by openly demonstrating its flag within the framework of their mission in the northern part of Syria in order to prevent Turkey from hitting US allies. Too exuberant in its support for the Kurds, and the US risks pushing ally Turkey toward USA geopolitical rivals like Russian Federation or emboldening the Kurds to try to create an independent state a scenario that would destabilize multiple countries in the region.
"It doesn't change the fact that when we see ISIS fighters on the battlefield and have a clean shot at them, we will continue to take it". Turkey says the group is an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.
Erdogan's next move could be to cancel his Washington visit in light of the YPG arms move.
While the coalition has already armed Arab fighters in the SDF, the White House this week authorized supplying weapons for the first time to its most powerful element, the Kurdish YPG, to help in the Raqqa assault.
This caused alarm in Turkey, which has long urged the United States to proceed with the operation to liberate Raqqa from Daesh with the main Syrian opposition fighting faction, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) instead of the YPG.
The matter could emerge in Trump's meeting with Erdogan.
Turkey's military operation in northern Syria was effectively limited by both the USA and Russian Federation, and the whole affair was halted a while ago.
The advance came after Turkey hit out at the United States for allying itself with a "terrorist organisation" over its own troops, with Ankara claiming support for Kurdish SDF factions it considers extremist "will have consequences". A recent bombardment of the PKK position in Sinjar, Iraq, served as a reminder of Turkey's frustration.
Washington is concerned by rising anti-Americanism in Turkey that Erdogan's government has tolerated since the July coup attempt.
Since last year, Turkey has pressed the US for the extradition of Fetullah Gulen, the leader of the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), the group blamed for last year's defeated coup which martyred 249 people and left some 2,200 injured.
Nevertheless, personal relations between Erdogan and Trump should be good. The security analyst, former Turkish diplomat Aydin Selgen, believes Ankara is able to unilaterally take actions to protect its own interests if a threat to national security from Syria and Iraq becomes possible. "And I think this trip will be a breaking point on this issue". "Turkey knows that the US position is serious". In an attempt to mitigate Turkey's response, USA officials have been telling the press that they provided certain assurances to Ankara - which obviously will not change anyone's minds.
Meanwhile, more than 1,200 residents and opposition fighters trapped in the Syrian capital Damascus left their neighbourhoods for rebel-held Idlib province on Friday as part of a deal to return the last neighbourhoods of the capital to government control.