The President of Turkey claims he has evidence that the Obama administration is supporting terrorist groups – including ISIS!
Turkey and Russia have separately accused the United States of backing what they call “terrorist groups” in Syria, on the same day they agreed to push for talks in Kazakhstan next month over the conflict.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that he had evidence that US-led coalition forces give support to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) and Kurdish groups, namely the People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
“They were accusing us of supporting Daesh,” he told a press conference in Ankara, using the Arabic abbreviation for ISIL.
“Now they give support to terrorist groups including Daesh, YPG, PYD. It is very clear. We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos,” he said, without elaborating further about the evidence in question.
The US state department dismissed Erdogan’s claims as “ludicrous”. Spokesman Mark Toner said there was no basis for such an accusation.
Galip Dalay, a columnist and analyst on Turkish and Kurdish affairs, said the sharp statement by Erdogan is an expression of disappointment in President Barack Obama’s Syria policy.
“Turkey believes that the Obama administration does not have the capability to hurt Turkey at this point,” he told Al Jazeera.
“So, [Erdogan] is taking the liberty to use sharp rhetoric. Ankara has been expressing its expectations for the mutual relations to get better under the incoming Donald Trump administration,” he said.
Dalay said he did not have any information on Washington’s alleged support for ISIL, but added that both the US and Russia have been supporting Syrian Kurdish forces against ISIL.
He said Washington was doing this mainly through the Syrian Democratic Forces, a multi-ethnic rebel group mainly active in the north of Syria.
Could this be Recep Tayyip Erdogan taking a shot at Obama on his way out the door?
Is there any truth to it?