Trump says US will no longer fund YPG in northern Syria, says Turkey

U.S. President Donald Trump informed Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a call on Friday that Washington is adjusting military support to partners on the ground in Syria, the White House said on Friday.

Turkey’s presidency had previously reported that the United States would not supply weapons to Kurdish YPG fighters in Syria.

The Turkish presidency also said that Washington had agreed to fight “terrorist organisations” with Ankara, including the Islamic State militant group, the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and the US-based Muslim cleric Fetullah Gulen network.

A description of the call provided by the White House did not specifically mention PKK, the YPG or the Gulen network, but it did say the two leaders also discussed the purchase of military equipment from the United States.

Turkey has long been furious about the US decision to provide supplies to the YPG, who have been fighting as part of the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition against the Islamic State group.

Turkey considers the YPG a branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a guerilla war with the Turkish state since 1984.

The presidential spokesperson told MEE that there was also an issue around “3,000 truckloads of weapons” given by the US to the YPG and what will now happen to them.

Although the Trump election was initially welcomed by the Erdogan government, tensions have risen over a number of issues.

Apart from the continued support for the YPG, the refusal to extradite Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and the prosecution of the Turkish-Iranian gold trade Reza Zarrab have all angered the Turkish government.

MEE understand that the US had been concerned that Turkey was leaving its political orbit and that Erdogan had told Trump in Friday’s call that he wanted three things to heal the rift: the extradition of Gulen, the end to the visa crisis and the US to stop arming the YPG.

In the call, Trump agreed to the third request.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also told reporters on Friday that Trump had told Erdogan he had issued instructions that weapons should no longer be provided to the YPG.

“Our discomfort regarding the provision of weapons to the YPG was conveyed to Mr Trump once again… Trump very clearly said he had given instructions to not provide weapons to the YPG,” Cavusoglu told a news conference in Ankara.

“We welcome the promise of not providing weapons to the YPG, and want to see it implemented practically.”

He added that “this nonsense should have ended a long time ago.”

Cavusoglu also said that Russia, Iran and Turkey would decide jointly who would attend Syrian peace talks. Turkey has said it would not accept the presence of YPG representatives.

Trump tweeted that after his call with Erdogan, he was planning to go golfing with Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson.

“After Turkey call I will be heading over to Trump National Golf Club, Jupiter, to play golf (quickly) with Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson,” he tweeted.

by Alex MacDonald

source

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