Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan © Murad Sezer / Reuters
Turkey’s Erdogan: ‘Confirmed evidence’ US-led coalition supports ISIS & other terrorists in Syria
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said “it’s very clear” that the US-led coalition is supporting terrorist groups in Syria, Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS/ISIL) among them.
“They give support to terrorist groups including Daesh (Arabic for IS),” Erdogan said.
Saying that the US have accused Turkey of supporting IS, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday the Turkish leader blamed the US-led coalition for assisting terrorists themselves.
Apart from IS, he also mentioned Kurdish People’s Protection Units in northern Syria (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD) as groups supported by the coalition.
“We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos,” he added.
Erdogan has also called on Saudi Arabia and Qatar to join Russia, Turkey and Iran in peace talks on Syria. On Tuesday, the Turkish leader said officials of these Gulf states should be included in the talks of foreign ministers in Kazakhstan next month, as their countries had “shown goodwill and given support” to Syria, AP reported.
However, the Turkish president stressed that Ankara itself would not take part should Syrian Kurdish groups – whom he called “terrorist organizations” – be invited to take part in the meeting.
Commenting on Ankara’s accusations, US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Erdogan’s claims were “ludicrous.”
Saying that there is “no basis for truth” in Erdogan’s statement, Toner added that Washington is “100 percent behind the defeat and destruction of Daesh, even beyond Syria and Iraq.”
The State Department also praised Ankara’s efforts in northern Syria, saying that they have been “very efficient, very successful.” The US is in “constant contact” with Turkey, Toner added.
“The evidence [mentioned by Erdogan] is quite ample, [the US] have been doing it for a number of years, including running secret CIA operations through Jordan, then through Turkey and into Syria,” Michael Maloof, a security analyst and former Pentagon official, told RT.
He added that Erdogan’s comments were “disingenuous,” however, as “he continues to supply arms [into Syria] as well, with his ultimate aim [being] to go after the Kurds, and ISIS is secondary.”
On Tuesday, Moscow also accused Washington of “sponsoring terrorism” in Syria.
Commenting on the latest National Defense Authorization Act signed into law by President Barack Obama, the Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that the new bill “openly stipulates the possibility” of delivering more weapons to Syria.
Those arms “will soon find their way to the jihadists,” ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said, adding that America had “refused” to fully cooperate in fighting terrorism.