Will try to make Trump change US stance on YPG in Syria, says Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he will tell the US President Donald Trump to prefer Turkey-backed FSA fighters in Syria against Daesh rather than the YPG.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during the Atlantic Council Istanbul Summit in Istanbul, Turkey, April 28, 2017.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday YPG militants were still present in a region of northern Syria west of the Euphrates river and that they must be pushed back.

Ankara regards YPG as the Syrian branch of the PKK, which Turkey, the US, and the EU designate as terror organisation. Turkey’s relations with the US have strained during the past few years due to Washington’s support for YPG. The US says YPG is “a strong ally” in the fight against Daesh.

Erdogan also told a conference in Istanbul that US support for YPG inside Syria was damaging solidarity between Washington and Ankara, adding that he hopes the relationship between the two countries will turn a page under President Donald Trump.

He said that next month he will try to communicate to Trump that Turkish-backed forces should be used to retake the Syrian city of Raqqa from Daesh rather than the YPG.

"Why the need to ask for help from terrorist organisations? We are here. "Turkey, coalition forces led by the United States and the Free Syrian Army all together can wipe them [Daesh] out. This is not a difficult thing for us," he said.

"I believe we can achieve this and I will tell this to Trump."

President Erdogan also criticised the West for not doing enough to help Turkey support Syrians fleeing war.

“We will not forget that dismissing atrocities is an atrocity itself, so we will always open our doors to them [refugees] and welcome them. We will do our best to ensure a ceasefire and a peace,” he said.

The Turkish president also said that Turkey's southern border region with Syria had come under serious mortar fire by YPG over the last two days and Turkish forces were retaliating as necessary.

"We will continue to take any measures as long as the threats persist... We will not allow efforts to form a terror corridor at our southern border," Erdogan said.

A statement by the Turkish military on Friday said that Turkish Armed Forces responded to YPG's RPG fire on a border station in Sanliurfa, killing 11 militants.

TRTWorld, Reuters