President Erdoğan: Barack Obama Deceived Us
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is planning to meet his US counterpart Donald Trump next month, hoping for stronger ties with the US after being “deceived” by ex-President Barack Obama.
Erdoğan made the comments in an interview with Al Jazeera that was aired on Wednesday, three days after he hailed a “Yes vote” in a referendum to amend Turkey’s constitution and grant the country’s presidential office new executive powers.
“Trump congratulated us for the referendum and the final vote,” Erdoğan said.
“The most important point we discussed was about developments in Syria and Iraq. We plan to meet in May and we will discuss things further face to face.
Erdogan also criticised Trump’s predecessor over an agreement between the two to fight what he described as “terrorist groups” operating in Turkey.
“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.”
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been designated a “terrorist” group by Turkey, the European Union and the United States. It launched an armed struggle against the Turkish state in 1984 and more than 40,000 people have since been killed in the conflict.
In February this year, Turkish police detained more than 800 people over alleged links to Kurdish fighters in nationwide operations, according to state media.
In Syria, the US backs the Syrian-Kurdish YPG armed group battling ISIL, which stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, and is also known as ISIS.
But Turkey considers the YPG to be a “terrorist group”, linked with the PKK, and a threat to its security.
“The YPG is an arm of the PKK. We must put an end to this,” said Erodgan.
“We can’t destroy one terrorist group with another one. We are strategic partners with the US.”