This week, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey. The two will likely discuss the US’ support of the Kurdish fighters in Syria.
Protestor demonstrates against Turkish violence against Kurds Photo Credit: Gili Yaari /Flash90
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is said to visit Turkey this week to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The two are likely to discuss the ongoing civil war in Syria and the US’ decision to back the Kurdish rebel group YPG.
The two countries remain divided about the respective attitudes towards the Kurds in Syria and Turkey. The US financially supports Kurdish militias that Turkey considers to be dangerous terrorist organizations that threaten stability in Turkey. More than 20% of Turkey’s citizens are Kurds. Erdogan stated, “Anyone interfering in Northern Syria has not suffered from Ottoman repercussions.”
Erdogan said during a speech to Turkish parliament that Ankara is furious at the US for its support of the Kurdish militias. Erdogan spoke to members of the Turkish Justice and Development Party following the publication of the US Defense Department budget for 2019, which includes funds to train local forces in the struggle against the Islamic State in Syria. Erdogan stated, “Our ally’s decisions to support the YPG will affect our policy.”
Last month, Turkey launched an invasion of Syria intended to push the YPG out of the Afrin region near the southern boundary. During the speech, Erdogan sent a clear message and warned the American forces stationed in Syria not to interfere with the operation.