President Donald Trump told the Turkish President that he will stop arming a Kurdish militia the Turkish government considers a terrorist organization, Turkey's foreign minister announced Friday.
Turkey considers the Kurdish Syrian fighters, the People's Protection Units known by the initials YPG, to be terrorists due to their affiliation to outlawed Kurdish rebels that have waged a three decade-long insurgency in Turkey. The Kurds have been invaluable partners to the U.S.in the fight against ISIS, and stopping the supply of arms to those fighters would represent a big policy change.
Continued US support for the YPG and the emergence of a second Kurdish-ruled region in the Middle East after the Kurdistan Region have alienated Turkey from its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally.
Pointing to the recent high-level visits to Greece from Turkey, Cavusoglu said Erdogan's visit would step up communications and as Tsipras chided German Chancellor Angela Merkel previously for calling for an end to Turkey's hopes of joining the European Union, a more than decade-long quest so far.
"Of course, we were very happy with this", Cavusoglu said.
The U.S. scaled back and ultimately cut Central Intelligence Agency support for rebel groups, instead focusing on a Pentagon program to back the Syrian Democratic Forces, a mostly Kurdish alliance of Arabs and ethnic minorities.
Last week, Col. Ryan Dillon, the chief spokesman for the USA coalition that is fighting IS in Iraq and Syria, said there has yet to be any reduction in the number of US advisers working with the SDF. But the United States has tried to draw a distinction between the PKK and the Syrian Kurds across the border, while Turkey insists they're essentially the same.
Joe Robinson was arrested while on holiday in Turkey, accused of fighting alongside Syrian Kurdish militia against the Islamic State group in Syria.
Relations between the USA and Turkey have been strained since the administration of former president Barack Obama over Washington's support for the YPG and the failure to extradite Pennsylvania-based Fethullah Gulen blamed for ordering last year's coup bid.