18:02 GMT18 April 2021
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    Turkish president Erdogan has lashed out against Washington, saying the US should choose between Ankara and the Kurds as its partner. The Turkish leader fiercely criticized the US government after Washington sent an envoy to the city of Kobani controlled by Syrian Kurds.

    The US government sent the envoy led by Brett McGurk to Kobani in Northern Syria to speak with representatives of the military wing of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

    Ankara considers the PYD a terrorist organization, because of its alleged affiliation with the Kurdistan Workers Party — which is outlawed in Turkey. According to the Turkish government, the fact that the Syrian Kurds are fighting against Daesh doesn't disqualify them from being terrorists.

    Meanwhile, analysts suggest the visit of the US representative to Kobani has escalated tensions between the United States and Turkey, which disagree on the way Ankara treats the Syrian Kurds.

    According to US officials, as cited by the Wall Street Journal, Ankara’s hostility towards Kurds is putting more strain on Turkey’s relations with the US. In particular, it undermines efforts to boost operations against Daesh and hampers the process of peace settlement to the Syrian conflict.

    Jordi Tejel, academic expert on the Kurdish movement, an Honorary Research Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies of the University of Exeter, told Radio Sputnik that Washington will continue to support the Kurds, while at the same time trying to convince Ankara to start cooperation with its longtime rival.

    “They are helping the PYD in Syria and at the same time they want Turkey to be involved in their fight against ISIS [Daesh or Islamic State]. Turkey feels that now is the moment for the US to choose.”

    The expert further said that, “From the very beginning Turkey’s main target was the PYD and not the Islamic State in Syria, which by the way has been supported directly or indirectly by the Turkish government,” Tejel said.

    He spoke about how for the last few months there was an increase in clashes between Turkey and the PKK in Turkey itself.

    Talking about the Turkish president’s latest statements and how will they affect the relations between the two countries, Tejel said, “I think Turkey has an important point. They don’t want the PYD to sit down during the talks in Geneva. For the time being I think Turkey will continue cooperating with the United States at the same time trying to keep the PYD from the peace talks,” Tejel concluded.


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    hostility, crisis, interview, conflict, Daesh, Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Syria
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