NEWS

Erdogan and Obama during better days

27/12/2016 - 21:17 0
US: Erdogan's claim coalition supports Islamic State 'ludicrous'

The US State Department has rubbished claims by Turkey President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that the US-led anti-IS coalition is supporting the jihadist group in Syria.

In a statement on Tuesday State Department spokesman Mark Toner called the accusation "ludicrous" and said there was no basis for such an accusation.

Erdogan had said earlier in the day that it was "very clear" that the US-led coalition was supporting terrorist groups in Syria, including the Islamic State. The Turkish President also mentioned the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD) as "terrorist groups supported by the coalition."

Erdogan has called on Saudi Arabia and Qatar to join talks with Russia, Iran and Turkey in Kazakhstan next month for a solution in Syria. However he did stress that Ankara would not join talks if Syrian Kurdish groups were invited. The Syrian Democratic Council (MSD), an umbrella organisation for Kurdish and other groups in Syria, has said that a true and lasting solution in Syria could only be reached if all parties were involved.

Commentators have said Erdogan's comments are "disingenous" as he has supported and supplied arms to jihadist groups in Syria to fight Kurdish forces. Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been accused of supporting the Islamic State and other Islamist groups in Syria by many experts and states, including Russia.

Turkish officials and pro-government media have accused the US of being behind July's coup attempt in Turkey and the recent assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Ankara. According to officials' statements and news reports the US is part of a plan to take over and divide Turkey.

Ankara's rapproachement with Moscow has inflamed Turkey's rhetoric against the US, with some analysts saying the country is changing axis and its strategic alliance from the West and NATO to the East and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

Turkey is also part of the anti-IS coaltion but has been accused of targeting Kurdish forces rather than the jihadist group in Syria. Recently Ankara met with resistance from IS for the first time in al-Bab and has lost 40 soldiers in clashes. Erdogan also blamed the US-led coalition for inadequate air support in al-Bab.

Source: Agencies