Published: Wed, May 17, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

Turkey calls on USA to not arm Kurdish 'terrorists'

Turkey calls on USA to not arm Kurdish 'terrorists'

Meanwhile, during an interview with NTV, Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik said that US decision to supply weapons to Syrian Kurdish militants will "neither benefit the USA nor the region".

USA -backed Syrian militias said they fully seized the town of Tabqa and Syria's largest dam from Islamic State on Wednesday, a major objective as they prepare to launch an assault on Raqqa city. She said both leaders affirmed their support for peace and stability in Iraq and Syria.

Erdogan said the fight against terrorism "should not be led with another terror organization" - a reference to the Syrian Kurdish militia, known as the People's Protection Units, which Turkey considers an extension of the decades-long Kurdish insurgency raging in its southeast.

Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said earlier on the same day that he could not imagine the U.S. having to choose between Turkey's strategic partnership and a "terrorist organisation".

Every weapon obtained by the Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters constitutes a threat to Turkey, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, reiterating Ankara's opposition to the USA deal to arm the Kurdish fighters.

Any further military action could also potentially complicate the offensive on Raqqa, the Islamic State's symbolic capital and its last major stronghold after the Iraqi city of Mosul, which is besieged by US-backed Iraqi forces.

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In the case of Kim Hak-song, authorities said, "A relevant institution is now conducting detailed investigation into his crimes". Song now lives in South Korea and has called on world leaders to free citizens in the North.

Mattis and Yildirim meet for about 30 minutes before the start of an global conference in London on security threats and humanitarian crises in Somalia.

The United States regards the YPG as a valuable partner in the fight against Islamic State militants in northern Syria. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday called on the United States to immediately reverse a decision on arming Syrian Kurdish fighters considered by Ankara to be a terror group.

Since then, Turkey is believed to have positioned more than 5,000 troops in northern Syria and has escalated its airstrikes and cross-border artillery attacks against Kurdish forces. "We want to know that our allies will stand not with a terrorist organization, but with us, " he said.

The president said he would express his concerns in this regard at the meeting with his USA counterpart Donald Trump on May 16, adding the same issue would also be brought up at the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit to be held in Brussels on May 25.

Mr Sinan Ulgen, a former Turkish diplomat and analyst at Carnegie Europe, said: "Turkey doesn't have much room to move here". "The United States and Turkey are two major partners in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation". The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to publicly discuss the matter, said artillery or surface-to-air missiles will not be provided. A first consignment of weapons is already in place for delivery and could be dispatched to the YPG "very quickly", U.S. Colonel John Dorrian said May 10. He and other officials have said the USA will closely monitor the weapons' distribution and insure that they are used only against IS.

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