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Erdogan Accuses Western Allies of Arming Terrorists Worldwide

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has accused the West of arming terrorists and killers who target Muslims worldwide. He was speaking at a launch ceremony of a new test and training ship in Istanbul on Saturday.

“Those who give weapons to terrorists with blood-soaked hands create unimagined obstacles when Turkey seeks to buy the same weapons. From Isis and PKK (the Kurdistan Workers' Party) to al-Qaeda and al-Shabaab, all terror organizations that shed the blood of Muslims have Western weapons in their hands," the Turkish daily Hurriyet quoted Erdogan as saying.

Erdogan went on to accuse US-backed Kurdish forces in north Syria, namely the People's Protection Units (YPG), of conducting ethnic cleansing. The YPG is a key element of the Syrian Democratic Forces, an amalgamation of Kurdish and Arab fighters, and are considered vital partners in the fight against the terror group Isis in Syria.

“They (the YPG) have the rockets, bombs and ammunition of our allies. Facing such a picture, Turkey cannot wait with tied-up hands or delegate its national security to other countries,” Erdogan said.

The YPG have been fighting terror groups since 2012, forming alliances with Arab, Syriac, and other neighbours, and building a society that could offer safe haven to persecuted minority groups including Christians and Yezidis.

Although fighting alongside Turkey’s Western allies for years now in Syria, the YPG has come under attacks and threats of major offensives by Ankara.

Erdogan, despite international caveats, had signalled in early February that a cross-border operation against Kurdish forces in Syria will take place soon. Since 2016, Ankara has carried out two military operations in northern Syria with the help of Free Syrian Army members, armed anti-regime factions in Syria.