Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan touted “outstanding” relations with the United States on Tuesday but emphasised Turkey will not accept Syrian Kurdish fighters in the region while stopping short of directly criticising a U.S. decision to arm them.
Erdogan met at the White House with President Donald Trump, and both called relations between the two NATO allies strong.
“We’ve had a great relationship and we will make it even better,” Trump said in a joint appearance with Erdogan.
Erdogan said his visit would “mark a historical turn of tide” and hailed “outstanding relations” between the nations. It was an especially positive tone considering the tensions over Washington’s decision to arm the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia that Ankara regards as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
“There is no place for the terrorist organizations in the future of our region,” said Erdogan, speaking through a translator.
He added that the activities of the YPG and its political arm in the region, the PYD, “will never be accepted.”
Meanwhile, according to prorothema.gr correspondent Michalis Ignatiou, scuffles occurred outside the White House half an hour before the scheduled meeting took place, when the Turkish President’s personal body guards confronted a group of Kurdish protesters who were voicing their objections to Mr. Erdogan’s policies against the Kurds in Turkey.
with information from reuters