ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) – US President Donald Trump’s Tuesday authorization of Pentagon to arm the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) was “unacceptable and a threat” to Turkey, according to senior government officials.
Speaking to reporters in the small Balkan nation of Montenegro, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday said every weapon given to the YPG was “a threat” to his country.
President Trump authorized the arming of the YPG in the run up to capture the Islamic State’s (IS) de facto capital of Raqqa in Syria.
Cavusoglu further claimed the city of Raqqa was “99 percent Sunni Arab,” advising against its liberation by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which the White House described as “the only force on the ground that can successfully seize Raqqa in the near future.”
In his televised press conference, Cavusoglu said the issue would come up during the May 16 Washington meeting between Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan expected Trump would not follow former President Barack Obama’s policy regarding the Syrian Kurds.
In a bid to convince Americans the YPG is “terrorist,” Erdogan declared he would show pictures of US soldiers patrolling the Turkey-Syria border with the Kurdish fighters.
Another reaction came from Deputy Turkish Prime Minister Nurettin Canikli who accused the Trump administration of shipping weapons to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) through the YPG.
Turkey argues the YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK which has been waging a decades-long guerrilla warfare against Turkish troops for larger Kurdish rights.
“We cannot accept the presence of terrorist groups that threaten the future of the Turkish state,” added Canikli who was speaking to the pro-government A Haber news channel.
Continued US support for the YPG and the emergence of a second Kurdish-ruled region in the Middle East after the Kurdistan Region have alienated Turkey from its NATO ally.
Fearful of similar demands by Kurds at home, Turkey has repeatedly called on the US to cease backing the YPG.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany