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Turkey says militants are using US-supplied weapons against civilians

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By Catherine Hardy  with Reuters, APTN
Turkey says militants are using US-supplied weapons against civilians

<ul> <li>Rhetoric hardens between Turkey and US</li> <li>Erdogan says he will speak to Obama</li> <li>At least 28 die in Ankara bombing <p></li> </ul> <h3><strong>The news</strong></h3> </p> <p>Turkey’s president has claimed the militant organisation <span class="caps">YPG</span> has used US-supplied weapons against civilians.</p> <p>Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to discuss his concerns with US President Barack Obama in the coming days. <p></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Turkey's Erdogan says saddened by U.S. arming of Syrian Kurdish militia <a href="https://t.co/jB8Q9g2LaE">https://t.co/jB8Q9g2LaE</a></p>— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) <a href="https://twitter.com/ReutersWorld/status/700663506245443584">February 19, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p> <p><strong>Erdogan</strong> told reporters that backing groups like the <span class="caps">YPG</span> in the fight against <span class="caps">ISIL</span> is, above all, a sign of weakness.</p> <p>“I told Obama months ago that the US was supplying weapons. Three plane loads arrived, half of them ended up in the hands of <span class="caps">ISIL</span>.”</p> <p>“The other half ended up in the hands of the <span class="caps">YPG</span>. Who were those weapons used against? They were used to fire on civilians in the area.”</p> <p>In addition to the president, Turkey’s foreign minister has accused the United States of making conflicting statements about the <span class="caps">YPG</span>, the Syrian Kurdish militia group accused of planting a bomb that killed at least 28 people in Ankara this week. <p></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="cy" dir="ltr">Cavusoglu: Turkey trained Mosul forces to fight Daesh <a href="https://t.co/g5padS0m09">https://t.co/g5padS0m09</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AA?src=hash">#AA</a> <a href="https://t.co/YGUzgoDIIj">pic.twitter.com/YGUzgoDIIj</a></p>— Mehmet Akgün (@mehmet_akgunn) <a href="https://twitter.com/mehmet_akgunn/status/675305062600609793">December 11, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p> <p><strong>Mevlut Cavusoglu</strong> has also criticised the reliance on groups like the <span class="caps">YPG</span> in the fight against <span class="caps">ISIL</span> as “a sign of weakness”.</p> <p>At the same time, US officials have urged Ankara to stop shelling <span class="caps">YPG</span> positions in northern Syria.</p> <p>Washington does not consider the <span class="caps">YPG</span> to be a terrorist organisation. <p></p> <h3><strong>At least 28 dead in bombing</strong></h3> </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Does the deadly terror attack in Ankara signal a new era of Turkish politics? <a href="https://t.co/9Yt5vng3Sd">https://t.co/9Yt5vng3Sd</a> <a href="https://t.co/Wuva6sTlck">pic.twitter.com/Wuva6sTlck</a></p>— <span class="caps">CNN</span> International (@cnni) <a href="https://twitter.com/cnni/status/700578800300662784">February 19, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Turkey claims Syrian man behind deadly Ankara car bomb attack: <a href="https://t.co/i64lHt2InY">https://t.co/i64lHt2InY</a> <a href="https://t.co/aobRPbewx9">pic.twitter.com/aobRPbewx9</a></p>— <span class="caps">ABC</span> News (@ABC) <a href="https://twitter.com/ABC/status/700278200849559552">February 18, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Turkish air strikes hit <span class="caps">PKK</span> camps in northern Iraq after Ankara bomb kills 28: <a href="https://t.co/w73OedBWye">https://t.co/w73OedBWye</a> <a href="https://t.co/JLAU2XByZo">pic.twitter.com/JLAU2XByZo</a></p>— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) <a href="https://twitter.com/ReutersWorld/status/700290687317778432">February 18, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> <p> <p>A car laden with explosives blew up next to military coaches full of soldiers as they waited at traffic lights near Turkey’s armed forces headquarters in the administrative district of Ankara on Wednesday evening.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">YPG</span>’s political arm has denied the group was behind the bombing.</p> <p>The <span class="caps">PYD</span> says Turkey is using the attack to justify an escalation in fighting in northern Syria.</p> </p> <h3><strong>The context</strong></h3> <p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"align="center"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">U.S. remains on the sidelines in spat with Turks and Kurds, <a href="https://twitter.com/John_Hudson"><code>John_Hudson</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/dandeluce"></code>DanDeluce</a> report <a href="https://t.co/88DeibjSNM">https://t.co/88DeibjSNM</a></p>— Foreign Policy (@ForeignPolicy) <a href="https://twitter.com/ForeignPolicy/status/700689024621662209">February 19, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script> </p> <p>Commentators are interpreting the hardening rhetoric as a sign of deepening divisions between the <span class="caps">NATO</span> allies over policy towards Syria.</p> <p>Washington backs the <span class="caps">YPG</span> in the fight against <span class="caps">ISIL</span> in Syria. </p> <p>This has enraged Ankara, which fears advances by Kurdish militia in northern Syria could stoke separatism among its own Kurdish minority. <p></p> <h3><strong>What they are saying</strong></h3> </p> <p><em>“Resorting to terrorist groups like the <span class="caps">YPG</span> in the fight against Daesh is, above all, a sign of weakness. In particular, our ally, the United States must stop making this mistake immediately.”</em> – Turkish Foreign Minister <strong>Mevlut Cavusoglu</strong>.</p>