US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan gesture as they talk at the start of the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium. Photograph:( Reuters )
Relations between the two NATO allies have been strained over US backing for the Kurdish YPG
President Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesman said on Monday Turkey expected the United States to honour their strategic partnership after US President Donald Trump warned it would devastate Turkey economically if they attack a Kurdish militia in Syria.
Relations between the two NATO allies have been strained over US backing for the Kurdish YPG, which Turkey views as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) that is waging a decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil.
“Mr @realDonaldTrump It is a fatal mistake to equate Syrian Kurds with the PKK, which is on the US terrorists list, and its Syria branch PYD/YPG,” spokesman Ibrahim Kalin wrote on Twitter.
Mr @realDonaldTrump Terrorists can’t be your partners & allies. Turkey expects the US to honor our strategic partnership and doesn’t want it to be shadowed by terrorist propaganda.— Ibrahim Kalin (@ikalin1) January 13, 2019
There is no difference between DAESH, PKK, PYD and YPG. We will continue to fight against them all. https://t.co/Yyzgyp9RQ4
“Terrorists can’t be your partners & allies. Turkey expects the US to honour our strategic partnership and doesn’t want it to be shadowed by terrorist propaganda,” he said.
Trump had tweeted earlier about the United States starting its pullout from Syria, while hitting the remaining Islamic State fighters there.
“Will attack again from existing nearby base if it reforms. Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20 mile safe zone...Likewise, do not want the Kurds to provoke Turkey,” Trump wrote.
The Kurdish YPG has been a US ally in the fight against the Islamic State group and it controls swaths of northern Syria. Erdogan has vowed to crush it in the wake of Trump’s decision to pull US troops out of the region.