Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is planning to meet his US counterpart Donald Trump next month, hoping for stronger ties with the United States after being “deceived” by ex-President Barack Obama.
Turkish leader said he hopes for stronger ties between Turkey and US under Donald Trump’s administration.
Erdogan made the comments in an interview with Al Jazeera that was broadcast 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,” Erdogan 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. “The United States gets hung up on process,” said Tamara Cofman Wittes, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and former Obama State Department official. “There’s a very strong tendency in U.S. foreign policy to acknowledge and to congratulate for holding elections, even when those elections take place in a pretty unfair context.”
Erdogan 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, or PKK, has been designated a “terrorist” group by Turkey, the European Union and the US. 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 U.S.