Obama deceived Turkey about PKK, Trump won’t: President Erdogan

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan listens as US President Barack Obama addresses a joint news conference in the White House Rose Garden, Washington, in May 2013 (© Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Former US President Barack Obama deceived Turkey by failing to abide by an agreement about the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK), Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview with Al Jazeera broadcast on Wednesday.

“With President Obama, we had a mutual agreement about the PKK – but Obama deceived us. I don’t believe the Trump administration will do the same,” Erdogan said in regards to American support for the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), a group Ankara claims is affiliated to the outlawed PKK.

The Turkish President has called several times on his new US counterpart to ditch support for the YPG, a group hailed as being the most effective force fighting the extremist Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.

“The YPG is an arm of the PKK. We must put an end to this,” Erdogan said. “We can’t destroy one terrorist group with another one. We are strategic partners with the US.”

Meanwhile the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is led by the YPG, have encircled the last major cities, Tabqa and Raqqa, in IS’ hands and are awaiting a final plan to storm the latter.

A US military official in March said the SDF did not pose a threat to Turkey.

Speaking to Rudaw, US Colonel John Dorrian, said US troops on the ground in Manbij were there to “to make sure there is no security incident and to make sure there is no persistent YPG presence in the city, or anything that would threaten Turkey because we are also committed to Turkey’s security.”

Erdogan and Trump are set to meet at the NATO Summit in Brussels on 24 May.