Erdogan: US made a serious mistake on Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters - Whisper Eye

Erdogan: US made a serious mistake on Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters

Turkish leader says YPG does not represent Syrian Kurds, slamming US demand for their security in turn for US pullout.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday denounced comments by a senior US official urging protection for Kurdish allies as “seriously mistaken”.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton held talks in Ankara with Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin and other officials on the handling of armed groups in northern Syria and the US’s planned pullout of its forces there.

A joint press briefing scheduled to take place was abruptly cancelled and Bolton was set to depart Turkey without meeting Erdogan in a likely snub over disagreements about Kurdish fighters.

During his visit to Israel on Sunday, Bolton set conditions for the US pullout from Syria that included Turkey guaranteeing the safety of the Kurdish militia that spearheaded the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) group.

“We cannot accept the message Bolton gave from Israel, we cannot be deceived by it,” Erdogan said in a speech to his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputies.

US President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of some 2,000 US troops from Syria last month in a statement that shocked many politicians in Washington as well as Western and Kurdish allies who fought alongside the US in the war-torn country.

Turkey has long condemned Washington for its military relationship with the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.

Ankara considers the YPG and its political wing, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), to be “terrorist groups” with ties to the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Turkey. However, the YPG has been Washington’s main ally in the war against ISIL in Syria for several years.

“The US apparently does not know them,” said Erdogan. “These terror organisations do not represent my Kurdish brothers. If the US sees these groups as [representatives of] my Kurdish brothers, they are seriously mistaken.”