Erdogan Rips US Plan to Arm Syrian Kurds

Officials Say Turkey Will Never Accept a NATO Ally Supporting Kurds

by Jason Ditz, May 10, 2017

Turkish officials were unusually quiet yesterday, when the United States announced its plans to significantly increase their direct armament of the Kurdish YPG, but made up for it today with a series of furious condemnations spanning virtually every top official in the Erdogan government.

President Erdogan was quick to lash the US for its plan, complaining that as a NATO member, the US should be supporting them, and not the “terrorist organization,” which they consider the YPG and indeed virtually every Kurdish organization around.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim warned that the US would face negative consequences for arming the Kurds, and other officils accused the US of being too willing to work with terrorists. Defense Secretary James Mattis downplayed this, saying the US would quickly resolve Turkish concerns.

That’s hugely unlikely, given Turkey’s long-standing hostility to Kurds in general, and Kurdish factions with an eye on autonomy in particular. This is likely to be the major topic of discussion during President Erdogan’s visit to the US later this month.

It’s not clear what, if anything, Turkey can do about such moves, though officials have in the past suggested expelling the US from Turkish airbases used in the war against ISIS to punish them for moves they consider as running contrary to Turkish interests.

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