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Trump, Turkish leader hail ties despite United States arming of Kurds

21 Mai 2017

Ahead of the meeting, Trump defended his decision to share "facts pertaining to terrorism" and airline safety with Russian Federation, saying in a pair of tweets he has "an absolute right" as president to do so.

Last week, the Pentagon announced that US President Donald Trump had approved arming what it called "Kurdish elements" of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a group dominated by the YPG.

The YPG statement added that the dam is a Syrian national institutional that will serve all areas of the country.

On BBC radio news on Wednesday, May 10, Egeman Bağiş noted that the USA has failed to honor Turkey's repeated requests to extradite Fethullah Gulen and described this failure as evidence that the U.S.is not committed to fighting terrorism as "Gulen is known by everyone in Turkey to have directed the coup attempt" in July 2016. The shipments were pre-positioned and could be delivered to the Kurdish militia "very quickly", according to U.S. Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Baghdad. But the president hasn't outlined a strategy to quell the six-year civil war or usher Assad out of power, which his administration says will be needed to stabilize the Arab country. Turkey has repeatedly demanded his extradition, which the Obama administration refused. He [Trump] is looking at the situation in Iraq and Syria through the information fed by them.

During the Turkish delegation's trip to Washington, President Trump approved a plan to provide weapons to YPG militants in Northern Syria - which was not a popular decision in the Turkish capital. "Side by side. Now, instead of siding with your ally - which has 800,000 soldiers - you are opting to side with a terrorist organization". And American officials have stressed that the USA will try to ensure that the arms supplied to Kurdish fighters aren't smuggled out for separatist attacks on Turkish interests. In an attempt to mitigate Turkey's response, USA officials have been telling the press that they provided certain assurances to Ankara - which obviously will not change anyone's minds.

Turkey perceives the militia commissioned by the USA as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has fought against the Turks in south-east Turkey and is recognised as a terrorist group by the United States, Turkey and Europe.

Trump's willingness to partner with authoritarian rulers and overlook their shortcomings on democracy and human rights has alarmed USA lawmakers of both parties.

The U.S. decision to directly arm Kurdish units of the Syrian Democratic Forces fighting ISIS could harm U.S. relations with Ankara and cause further instability within Syria and Turkey, but it was a "necessary" step against ISIS, Kurdish politicians and fighters said. Turkey wants the arms agreement reversed.

Yıldırım might have stated "we are not in a position to declare war on the USA", but it also means that we would be on the verge of conflagration if it were possible to challenge the world power.

Washington, meanwhile, has suggested it will attempt to assuage Turkey's concerns by supporting Turkish security.

The Turks are fiercely opposed to the USA plans, seeing the Kurdish fighters as terrorists.

Ed Stafford is a retired Foreign Service Officer whose last overseas assignment was to the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, Turkey (2011-2014). "After that we will make our final decision". "We can't allow this alliance to be taken over by policies against Turkey".

Ties have also been strained by Turkey's demand for the extradition of U.S. -based cleric Fethullah Gulen whom Turkey blames for last year's failed coup attempt.

Trump, Turkish leader hail ties despite United States arming of Kurds