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DIPLOMACY >President Erdoğan slams Obama, Merkel over PKK, referendum response

ISTANBUL

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has slammed the 44th U.S. President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the former’s alleged failure to abide by a mutual agreement about the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the latter’s hesitance over congratulating him for the “Yes” side’s narrow triumph in the April 16 referendum.
The Obama administration deceived Turkey over cooperation against the PKK, Erdoğan said late on April 19, while voicing his expectation of stronger ties with the new U.S. administration under Donald Trump.

“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,” Erdoğan told Al Jazeera in an interview broadcast on April 19, three days after the referendum in which voters approved changes to the country’s constitution that would usher in an executive presidential system.      

Commenting on Trump’s phone call following the referendum, Erdoğan said they discussed developments in Syria and Iraq, while a more detailed discussion on the region is slated for a face-to-face meeting soon.

“I told [Trump] that the PYD-YPG [the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party and the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units] are in fact offshoots of the PKK terrorist organization. We have witnessed this and we know them well. Let’s finish them off. I said I do not find it right to try to eliminate one terror organization with another terror organization,” he said.

Both Washington and Ankara designate the PKK as a terrorist group. Ankara regards the PYD and its armed wing the YPG as terrorist organizations due to their ties with the PKK, while Washington has cooperated extensively with the YPG in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), infuriating Turkey.      

When reminded about the fact that GermanChancellor Merkel had not called him yet on the referendum result, Erdoğan said he saw the issue as a sign of “guilty conscience.”

“We may evaluate this as guilty conscience right now. You should ask her about that if you get the opportunity,” he added.

April/20/2017

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