Turkey summons United States diplomat for supporting Syrian Kurd group

by Abel Hampton January 13, 2018, 0:10
Turkey summons United States diplomat for supporting Syrian Kurd group

Relations between Turkey and the United States were harmed by Washington's refusal to extradite cleric Fetullah Gulen and its provision of arms to the Kurdish militant YPG, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Wednesday.

The People's Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party, or PYD, is seen by the USA as the most effective ground partner for the US-led coalition fighting ISIL in Syria.

Turkey has been deploying forces inside northern Idlib and setting up bases there after agreeing with Iran and Russian Federation to establish a "de-escalation zone" in Idlib and nearby areas.

The YPG has received arms shipments and training from the USA, in a move that angered Turkey which considers the Kurdish forces to be a "terrorist group" that threatens its security.

The sources did not give any further detail. Ankara considers the regime offensive, supported by Iran-backed militias and Russian air power, aims to recover more territory from the rebels. In May 2017, Deputy Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli called the supply of weapons to the Kurdish forces "unacceptable".

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But Ankara and Washington have been at loggerheads over a wide range of issues in recent months, including a US alliance with Kurdish fighters in Syria and the conviction of a Turkish bank executive in a USA sanctions-busting case that included testimony of corruption by senior Turkish officials.

Russia's defence ministry had asked the Turkish military on Wednesday to tighten control over armed groups in Idlib after two groups of drones attacked Russian bases on January 6.

"Iran and Russian Federation need to carry out their responsibilities".

The three countries had agreed previous year to establish a "de-escalation zone" in the opposition-held Idlib province and surrounding region, which borders Turkey.

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