Erdogan calls on US to reverse bid to arm Kurdish militants in Syria

KONFRONTASI-Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has urged Washington to immediately overturn its decision to arm Kurdish militants that Ankara regards as members of a terrorist group.

"I hope very much that this mistake will be reversed immediately," Erdogan stated on Wednesday, following an announcement by the US that it intends to supply arms to the Kurdish Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) in the battle against Daesh militants in Syrian territory, AFP reported.

Erdogan further emphasized that he would mention the issue in upcoming discussions with US President Donald Trump when the two are scheduled to meet in Washington on May 16 in their first formal encounter as heads of state.
File photo shows a US military officer (R) from the so-called US-led coalition, which is purportedly fighting Daesh, speaking with a YPG militant.

"I will personally express our worries in a detailed way when we talk with President Trump on May 16," said the Turkish leader, noting that he would also bring up the issue during a NATO summit in Brussels on May 25.

"We want to believe that our allies would prefer to be side by side with ourselves rather than with the terror groups," Erdogan further said, adding that whatever happens in Syria and Iraq is a matter of "national security" for Turkey.

The development came shortly after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu expressed resentment over Washington’s plans to arm the YPG, underlining that any armaments supplied to the Kurdish forces will constitute a threat to Ankara.  

Speaking to reporters while on a visit to Montenegro on Wednesday, Cavusoglu further said that Washington is well aware of Ankara’s position on the YPG and should not take wrong steps in Syria.