ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan24) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday accused former US President Barack Obama of ‘deception’ over the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is currently fighting Islamic State (IS) in Syria.
“Obama, unfortunately, deceived us regarding the PYD and YPG. I do not think the current administration of [President Donald Trump] will do the same,” declared Erdogan.
The Democratic Union Party (PYD) is the ruling Kurdish party in Syrian Kurdistan. Its armed wing (YPG) has become the US's main ally in the war against the IS.
Turkey considers both entities as Syrian offshoots of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). PKK guerrillas have been waging a decades-long war against the Turkish state for equal rights and self-determination for Kurds in Turkey.
Both NATO allies designate the PKK as a terror group.
Speaking to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera TV channel, Erdogan alluded to a previous agreement between the US and Turkey opposing the PKK. The agreement came to an end in late 2014 after the IS launched an all-out assault to capture the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani.
Kobani became a turning point for US policy in Syria when Obama ordered airstrikes in the area and delivered ammunition airdrops to support Kurdish factions fighting back against the Islamist group. The decision has since alienated Turkey.
Erdogan referred to the call he received from Trump on Tuesday, where the latter congratulated the former over the contested outcome of the heated referendum held over the weekend. As a result, Erdogan gained new powers through a controversial constitutional reform package.
According to state media, Trump told Erdogan they would accomplish “very important things together.”
Hoping to meet with President Trump in coming months, Erdogan said he expected Americans to stand in solidarity with his country against "terrorist organizations."
“There will be in-depth discussions once we meet in person. We will undoubtedly present a lot of documents to [Trump],” Erdogan mentioned.
Since the end of Obama’s tenure as president, Turkey’s leadership has been courting the Trump administration in hopes it will abandon the Syrian Kurdish forces and throw its lot with the Turkish-backed groups instead.
The Pentagon, however, has continued and increased its support to the YPG and its multi-ethnic surrogate, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in an ongoing operation to capture the Islamic State's de facto capital of Raqqa.
In March, Turkey’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu claimed US generals could “mislead Trump with respects to the Syrian Kurds, the same way they did with Obama.”
Editing by G. H. Renaud