Tuesday, 23 May, 2017

Turkey leader calls on USA to reverse decision to arm Kurds

Syrian Kurdish forces to push on IS capital this summer US-backed Syrian forces expect Raqqa assault soon, await weapons
Saul Franklin | 13 May, 2017, 09:41

"The Turkish President said that he would bring up the subject during his upcoming meeting with U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in Washington on May 16, stressing that Turkey will continue to fight "terror" groups within its borders and overseas".

Turkey's president on Friday insisted that a US decision this week to arm Kurdish militias in northern Syria was a hangover policy of the Obama administration, days before he was due to meet the new US President Donald Trump.

Turkey has been angered by a US decision to provide arms to Syrian Kurdish fighters that Turkey considers terrorists and a serious threat to its security.

Turkey insists that this Kurdish group is a terrorist organization but has failed to convince Washington and other members of the US -led coalition against ISIL.

Not only is Ankara furious about the US alliance with the Syrian Kurds, Erdogan and his officials also are increasingly frustrated at what they see as stonewalling on a request for the extradition of the USA -based Muslim cleric Muhammed Fethullah Gulen, who Erdogan claims masterminded last July's failed military coup against him.

"Daesh (so-called Islamic State) is a terrorist organisation and in order to annihilate it the USA is using the PKK, YPG or PYG (Syrian Kurd fighters)", he said. The Turkish government is specifically concerned that the weapons and military equipment provided to the YPG might be used in terrorist attacks inside Turkey because Ankara believes the "human resources" of the YPG, PKK, People's Defense Forces (HPG) as well as the Iranian-based Kurdistan Free Life Party (PJAK) are quite interchangeable and mostly identical (Nato.int, 2016).

Mehmet Tezkan stated the issue clearly in the centrist Milliyet newspaper: "This is the problem: Ankara is failing to convince the Americans that the YPG is ensconced within the PKK and that the heavy weapons supplied to them will reach the PKK" for use against the Turkish army and police.

The defense secretary, speaking to reporters aboard a USA military airplane after the meeting in London, characterized the discussions as "honest, transparent and helpful".

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This is not over, we have three more games in La Liga and then we have to think about the final". In the final 15 minutes of the first half we started to play our game. "It's been incredible .

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Meanwhile, Pentagon chief Jim Mattis expressed confidence that the United States can allay Turkey's concerns over the decision. The United States regards the YPG as a valuable partner in the fight against Islamic State militants in northern Syria.

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Patrick Beverley scored 20 points, while Anderson and Gordon added 19 and 11 points, respectively, for the Rockets . They missed several wide open threes down the stretch that likely would have changed the complexion of the game.

The victory closely follows the USA announcement that it would begin to directly arm "Kurdish elements" of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). "And I think this trip will be a breaking point on this issue".

Yildirim acknowledged that the plan had been developed under the previous US administration, and said he hoped Turkey would have a better relationship with Trump's administration. This presents a complication for the USA, but not necessarily a bad one.

"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. The strikes were part of an ongoing counterterrorism operation targeting members of the YPG, some of who could potentially be teamed with USA military advisers. Asserting that "bad signals are coming from Washington", Cevik argued that the U.S. Central Command had convinced Trump's inner circle that the fight against ISIL can only be carried out with the YPG.

James Mattis, the U.S. defence secretary, said the Trump administration would "work out any of the concerns".

At this moment, the U.S. seems need Kurdish forces as an instrument against Daesh in Syria. "And we have to be more careful and sensitive", Erdogan said.

"The SDF accepted Isis' surrender of the city to protect innocent civilians and to protect the Tabqah dam infrastructure which hundreds of thousands of Syrians rely on for water, agriculture, and electricity", a statement from US Central Command said. "Turkey knows that the USA position is serious".

Washington is trying to provide Turkey assurances.

One of the major papers in Turkey, Sozcu, has already called for the government to shutdown the USA base in retaliation.

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