Erdogan for breakthrough in dispute on arming Kurds

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday his visit to the US next week would herald a new beginning in relations between the two countries. Relations between the NATO allies have been strained by differences over Syria policy. The US has announced a plan to arm the Syrian Kurdish YPG in the fight against Islamic State, infuriating Turkey, which sees the YPG as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Erdogan told a news conference that he believed the US was still going through a “transition period,” and that decisions such as the arming the YPG dated back to policies from the previous administration. Erdogan is due to meet President Donald Trump during his May 16-17 trip to Washington.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday he hopes that talks with US President Donald Trump will lead to a “breaking point” in the US decision to arm Syrian Kurdish rebels. He was speaking to reporters before leaving for China, followed by a trip to Washington. Turkey has been angered by a US decision to provide arms to Syrian Kurdish fighters that Turkey considers terrorists. The US considers the Kurdish fighters as the most effective group in the fight against Islamic State militants. Ankara wants the decision reversed, concerned that the weapons will end up in the hands of Kurdish militants in Turkey.

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