NATO crisis: Turkey angered about US weaponization of Kurds

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turkey nato crisis

Following yesterday’s news that the White House had radically changed its strategy involving Syrian military intervention, and that it had decided to provide weapons to Kurdish militants in the region, we were curious to see just how livid Turkey would be when it inevitably responded to Trump’s announcement.

One day later we got the answer when the Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Isik was quoted by Reuters that the US decision to provide weapons for Kurdish militants in the fight against ISIS “is a crisis” and warned it would not benefit the United States or the region.

Isik also said that Turkey should not be expected to support any potential operations in Syria involving “terrorist groups” which leaves open the question whether Turkey would prevent the US from using the critical for the region Incirlik air base, which is also ground zero for many US combat missions involving ISIS. As expected, Turkey urged the United States on Wednesday to reverse the decision, saying every weapon supplied to the YPG militia constituted “a threat to Turkey”.

The decision to supply arms to Kurds would have “consequences” and a potentially “negative result” for Washington, warned Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim warned on Wednesday.

“We cannot imagine [the US] making a choice between our strategic-level partnership and a terrorist organization,” Yildirim said, quoted by the Sabah daily. “The US administration still has a chance to consider Turkey’s sensitivities of highest level on the PKK. If the decision is taken otherwise, this will surely have consequences and will yield a negative result for the US as well.”

Matter of national security

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that everything that happens in Syria and Iraq is “a matter of national security for Turkey”.

The President’s remarks came during a press conference with his Sierra Leonean counterpart Ernest Bai Koroma in Ankara’s Presidential Complex.

After thanking Koroma for Sierra Leone’s decision to close schools belonging to the Gülenist terror cult (FETÖ), Erdoğan also touched upon the Trump administration’s decision to arm YPG terrorists in northern Syria.

“A terrorist group [Daesh] cannot be defeated with another one,” he said, once again reiterating Turkey’s stance on the controversial decision in the fight against Daesh.

Erdoğan also thanked Koroma for his country’s decision to lift diplomatic visa requirements.

Sierra Leonean President also said he is grateful to Turkey too. “We deeply appreciate Turkey’s help to Sierra Leone against the Ebola outbreak,” he said.