Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has indicated after talks in Washington that he will never accept a US alliance with Kurdish forces fighting in Syria.
“There is no place for terrorist organisations in the future of our region,” he said at a joint news conference with President Donald Trump. He was referring to the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, following a US decision earlier this month to arm the group.
Despite this, the two leaders pledged to strengthen bilateral relations. “We’ve had a great relationship and we will make it even better,” President Trump said. Mr Trump also “reiterated the commitment of the United States to the security of our Nato ally Turkey and the need to work together to confront terrorism in all its forms”, the White House said in a statement issued shortly afterwards.
Turkey views the YPG (Popular Protection Units), the military wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), as terrorists and wants to stop them taking more territory in Syria. “It is absolutely unacceptable to take the YPG-PYD into consideration as partners in the region, and it’s going against a global agreement we reached,” Mr Erdogan said on Tuesday.
Ankara says the YPG is as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a group it has been fighting for decades in south-eastern Turkey.