Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has told CBS News that he is “disillusioned” with US-Turkey relations, and in particular with his relationship with the Obama Administration, complaining about Obama’s handling of the Syrian War as well as Turkey’s extradition request for Fethullah Gulen after the failed coup d’etat.
Erdogan has long complained about the US backing for the Kurdish YPG in Syria, adding today that “you cannot defend a terrorist group just because they are fighting ISIS.” He went on to say Turkey believes all terrorist groups need to be fought, but hat the US doesn’t see it that way.
This has been an ongoing problem, with the US saying they don’t consider the YPG a terrorist organization. Since Turkey’s invasion of northern Syria, Turkish warplanes have launched multiple attacks against the Kurdish forces, and have loudly complained about the US allowing the YPG to attack ISIS’ capital city of Raqqa.
Erdogan also complained about how long it’s taking for him to get Fethullah Gulen extradited, insisting that Turkey has always handed over “those kinds of terrorists” whenever the US asked, and saying Obama should do the same for him.
The Justice Department is still conducting a review of the extradition request, but administration officials have suggested that Turkey’s request did not offer any real evidence of the cleric’s involvement in the coup.
Erdogan has appeared more hopeful about President-elect Donald Trump, and indeed Trump’s new National Security Adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn has called for Gulen’s extradition, though Trump’s desire to focus on fighting against ISIS in Syria probably doesn’t portend a major shift away from airstrikes backing Kurdish offensives.