Erdogan to meet Trump amid disagreements on YPG
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will hold discussions in Washington on May 16 at a delicate time for bilateral ties after U.S. President Donald Trump authorized the direct arming of Syrian Kurdish fighters from the People’s Protection Units (YPG).

Erdogan will meet Trump for the first time since the latter assumed office, with the talks “to be in the format of a point rather than a comma” in terms of the allies’ future ties, according to the Turkish leader.

Syria will dominate the agenda as the Turkish leader tries for a final time to try to convince the American president to change his mind about cooperating with the YPG ahead of a massive military campaign in Raqqa with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which are dominated by Kurdish fighters, Hurriyet daily reported.

The Pentagon has identified the Syrian Kurdish militia as the local partner best-placed to drive the Islamic State (IS) out of Raqqa. The U.S. will deliver small arms, ammunition, machine guns, armored vehicles and engineering equipment to the YPG. The shipments were pre-positioned and could be delivered to the Kurdish militia “very quickly,” according to U.S. Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Baghdad.

Turkey and the U.S. are at odds over the designation of the YPG and PYD. Turkey has entirely attempted to portray the two groups as terrorists since Ankara sees the Syrian Kurdish fighters as an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), and complains that the American arms will eventually reach the PKK. But the U.S. sees the YPG as effective partners on the ground in their fight against IS.

Reporter’s code: 50101

News Code: 15936  |  Date: 2017/05/16  |  Time: 10 : 47

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