There are new signs of tension between Ankara and Washington after the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused the US administration of supplying the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in northern Syria with weapons.
During a meeting organised by the American – Turkish Cultural Assembly in New York that was attended by representatives of Turkish civil society organisations in the United States, Erdogan said “Three days ago America dropped two plane loads of weapons in Ain Al-Arab (Kobani) for the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the People’s Protection Units (YPG)”. He added that he had discussed the issue with US Vice President Joe Biden who said that he had no information on the matter. It is known that Turkey considers the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which is the armed wing of the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which is classified as a terrorist organisation.
Erdogan added that he believes Washington should classify the YPG and the PYD as terrorist groups despite the fact that they are fighting against ISIS. He pointed out that Al-Nusra Front, which recently changed its name to Jabhat Fatah Al-Sham, is classified as a terrorist organisation by Washington despite it opposing ISIS.
In comments that he made in New York on Thursday that were broadcast on Turkish television, Erdogan said “If you think you can finish off Daesh with the YPG and PYD, you cannot, because they are terrorist groups too”.