Turkey, World, Americas

Trump tells Erdogan no weapons will be given to terrorist PKK/PYD

Turkish foreign minister gives details of telephone conversation between Turkish, US presidents

24.11.2017
Trump tells Erdogan no weapons will be given to terrorist PKK/PYD

By Yusuf Hatip and Micheal Hernandez 

ANKARA

U.S. President Donald Trump has told his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Washington will not give terror group PKK/PYD weapons anymore, according to Turkish foreign minister Friday.

Remarks by Mevlut Cavusoglu came after Trump and Erdogan spoke over the phone on Friday to discuss the recently-concluded Sochi summit, Syria crisis and bilateral ties.

"Mr. Trump [...] clearly stated that weapons will not be given to YPG anymore and said that essentially this nonsense should have been ended before," Cavusoglu told reporters in a joint news conference with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Deputy Prime Minister, and Foreign and Regional Integration Minister Leonard She Okitundu.

Erdogan, Trump discuss Sochi summit, Syria over phone

Following the phone call, Erdogan tweeted: “I had a fruitful phone conversation with the U.S. President Donald Trump today."

Cavusoglu said one of the topics that negatively affected U.S.-Turkey ties the most were the weapons that Washington supplied to the PKK/PYD terror group.

"Lately, we have seen that some armored vehicles were also given,” he said. “Our president once again conveyed our discomfort to Mr. Trump.”

The White House later confirmed that "consistent with our previous policy", Trump told Erdogan the U.S. would be making "pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria". 
It did not specify which partners it was referring to.
"The leaders also discussed the purchase of military equipment from the United States," the White House added in its readout of the call. 

The PYD and its military YPG wing are Syrian branches of the PKK terrorist network, which has waged war against Turkey for more than 30 years.

Since the PKK launched its terror campaign in Turkey in 1984, tens of thousands of people have been killed.

Visa issue

The U.S. and the coalition have largely ignored the links of the PYD/YPG group with the PKK, which the U.S. and the EU also list as a terrorist group.

Turkey has repeatedly objected to U.S. support for the terrorist PKK/PYD as a “reliable ally” in Syria, support which has included supplying arms and equipment.

Cavusoglu said Erdogan also informed Trump about Turkey's view on the visa issue with the U.S. and called for complete resolution of the issue.

About ties between Turkey and the Democratic Republic of Congo, the foreign minister said the African country is a strategic partner of Turkey. "We want to stress that we see Congo as an important partner.”

Cavusoglu also thanked the DRC government for showing sensitivity on the presence of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) in their country.

"The necessary work to transfer FETO schools [in the DRC] to Maarif Foundation has started," he said.

Turkey established the Maarif Foundation to take over the administration of overseas schools linked to FETO. It also establishes schools and education centers abroad.

Investment opportunities in DRC

Nineteen African countries have handed over FETO schools to Maarif or closed them on Ankara's request.

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup attempt of July 15, 2016, which left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police and judiciary.

FETO also has a considerable international presence, including private educational institutions that serve as a revenue stream for the terrorist group.

Okitundu, for his part, said they want to benefit from Turkey's expertise for development of the DRC.

"There are diverse investment opportunities in Democratic Republic of Congo. This can be utilized for benefit of both Turkey and our country," he said.

After meeting Cavusoglu, Okitundu met Prime Minister Binali Yildirim.

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