News ID: 239123
Published: 0507 GMT February 19, 2019

Erdogan: NATO gives arms to Syria Kurds but not to Turkey

Erdogan: NATO gives arms to Syria Kurds but not to Turkey

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has lashed out at Turkey’s NATO allies for supplying huge loads of weapons to US-backed Kurdish militants in northern Syria, while ignoring Ankara’s request to buy their arms.

“What kind of NATO alliance is this?” Erdogan said on Monday during an election campaign rally in southwestern Turkey’s Burdur region, Presstv Reported.

“You give terrorists around 23,000 truckloads of weapons and tools through Iraq but when we asked, you won’t even sell them to us,” he said.

Erdogan did not specify which countries were supplying arms to Kurds via Iraq, but Ankara has repeatedly criticized Washington for supplying weapons to the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Ankara views the YPG as a “terrorist group” linked the homegrown Kurdistan Workers’Party (PKK) militant group, which has been fighting for an autonomous region inside Turkey since 1984.

The Turkish leader further said that Ankara would not give up its plan to purchase S-400 missile systems from Russia, saying Washington has no right to go against this purchase.

“They [the US] tell us to change our mind about purchasing the S-400 missiles. Why would we?” he asked, criticizing Washington’s reluctance to sell the Patriot missile systems to Turkey.

Erdogan also slammed countries “thousands of kilometers away” planning to conduct military operations in Syria, while Turkey is constantly “under threat” with its 911-kilometer border with Syria.

The US has been arming and training Kurdish militants under the banner of helping them fight the Daesh terrorist group, but Syria and several other countries see ulterior motives behind the deployment.

Turkey, a key US ally in the region, has repeatedly questioned Washington’s deployment of heavy weapons in Syria despite the defeat of Daesh in much of the Arab country.

Turkey has also complained over the slow implementation of a deal with Washington to pull YPG Kurdish forces out of Manbij, which lies in mainly Arab territory west of the Euphrates, back to the eastern bank of the river.

The Kurdish militants in northern Syria, who have long enjoyed US support, feel abandoned by Washington following US President Donald Trump’s unexpected decision late last year to pull the American forces out of Syria amid plans by Turkey to launch an operation against anti-Damascus Kurdish militants.

On Monday, the SDF commander-in-chief, Mazloum Kobani, called for about 1,000 to 1,500 international forces to remain in northern Syria.

He expressed hope Washington, in particular, would halt plans for a total pullout.

 

   
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