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Erdogan says Obama deceived Turkey over PKK

The Barack Obama administration deceived Turkey over cooperation against the outlawed PKK, President Tayyip Erdogan said late on April 19, calling for stronger ties with U.S. President 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.

Erdoğan criticized Obama for failing to abide by an agreement between the two countries to fight against terror organizations.

Both Washington and Ankara designate the PKK as a terror group. Ankara regards the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Unit (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.

The president’s latest remarks followed his earlier statements on April 19 that “the way President Trump is approaching matters is encouraging and makes us happy.”

Erdoğan also said he was planning to meet his U.S. counterpart next month ahead of a NATO meeting.

Trump, who came to power in January following an eight-year tenure for Obama, called on April 17 to congratulate Erdoğan on the April 16 referendum, in which voters approved changes to the country’s constitution that would usher in an executive presidency.

“The most important point we discussed was about developments in Syria and Iraq. We plan to meet in May and we will discuss things further face to face,” Erdoğan said regarding the phone call.

According to Turkish presidential sources, the leaders discussed cooperation on Syria and against terrorism as well as the Bashar al-Assad regime’s alleged chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun earlier this month that killed as many as 100 civilians.

Trump also thanked Turkey for supporting the U.S. missile strikes on a Syrian air base in retaliation for the chemical attack, with both men stressing the need for cooperation in the fight against terror groups, including ISIL.


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