Turkey: Trump pledges to stop arming Syrian Kurds

Turkey Recep President Tayyip Erdogan (L) and U.S. President Donald Trump deliver joint statements in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington on May 16. They spoke on the phone Friday. Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI

Nov. 25 (UPI) — The U.S. will stop arming Kurdish fighters in Syria, Turkey’s foreign minister said after a telephone conservation between President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

During a news conference in Ankara, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Trump on Friday agreed to end a policy of supplying weapons to the Kurdish group, known as the YPG.

Cavusoglu quoted Trump as saying: “This nonsense should have ended a long time ago” — regarding the arming of the YPG.

Turkey considers the YPG a terrorist organization linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, in Turkey. The United States and Turkey consider the PKK to be a terrorist group, but the U.S. also considered the Syrian Kurds the best way to fight the Islamic State on the ground.

In a five-sentence readout of the phone call, the White House didn’t mention the YPG.

Trump did not meet with the media at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Palm Beach, Fla.

The White House only said Trump informed Erdogan of “pending adjustments to the military support provided to our partners on the ground in Syria now that the battle of Raqqa is complete and we are progressing into a stabilization phase to ensure that ISIS cannot return.”

It said it is “consistent with our previous policy.”

The White House said Erdogan and Trump also discussed Turkey purchasing military equipment from the United States.

Last week, Erdogan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Sochi, Russia.


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