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Turkey says militants are using US-supplied weapons against civilians

Turkey says militants are using US-supplied weapons against civilians
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By Catherine Hardy with Reuters, APTN
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Erdogan turns up the heat on Obama after this week's deadly suicide bombing in the centre of Ankara.

  • Rhetoric hardens between Turkey and US
  • Erdogan says he will speak to Obama
  • At least 28 die in Ankara bombing

The news

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Turkey’s president has claimed the militant organisation YPG has used US-supplied weapons against civilians.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to discuss his concerns with US President Barack Obama in the coming days.

Turkey's Erdogan says saddened by U.S. arming of Syrian Kurdish militia https://t.co/jB8Q9g2LaE

— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) February 19, 2016

Erdogan told reporters that backing groups like the YPG in the fight against ISIL is, above all, a sign of weakness.

“I told Obama months ago that the US was supplying weapons. Three plane loads arrived, half of them ended up in the hands of ISIL.”

“The other half ended up in the hands of the YPG. Who were those weapons used against? They were used to fire on civilians in the area.”

In addition to the president, Turkey’s foreign minister has accused the United States of making conflicting statements about the YPG, the Syrian Kurdish militia group accused of planting a bomb that killed at least 28 people in Ankara this week.

Cavusoglu: Turkey trained Mosul forces to fight Daesh https://t.co/g5padS0m09#AApic.twitter.com/YGUzgoDIIj

— Mehmet Akgün (@mehmet_akgunn) December 11, 2015

Mevlut Cavusoglu has also criticised the reliance on groups like the YPG in the fight against ISIL as “a sign of weakness”.

At the same time, US officials have urged Ankara to stop shelling YPG positions in northern Syria.

Washington does not consider the YPG to be a terrorist organisation.

At least 28 dead in bombing

Does the deadly terror attack in Ankara signal a new era of Turkish politics? https://t.co/9Yt5vng3Sdpic.twitter.com/Wuva6sTlck

— CNN International (@cnni) February 19, 2016

Turkey claims Syrian man behind deadly Ankara car bomb attack: https://t.co/i64lHt2InYpic.twitter.com/aobRPbewx9

— ABC News (@ABC) February 18, 2016

Turkish air strikes hit PKK camps in northern Iraq after Ankara bomb kills 28: https://t.co/w73OedBWyepic.twitter.com/JLAU2XByZo

— Reuters World (@ReutersWorld) February 18, 2016

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.

The YPG’s political arm has denied the group was behind the bombing.

The PYD says Turkey is using the attack to justify an escalation in fighting in northern Syria.

The context

U.S. remains on the sidelines in spat with Turks and Kurds, John_Hudson</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/dandeluce">DanDeluce report https://t.co/88DeibjSNM

— Foreign Policy (@ForeignPolicy) February 19, 2016

Commentators are interpreting the hardening rhetoric as a sign of deepening divisions between the NATO allies over policy towards Syria.

Washington backs the YPG in the fight against ISIL in Syria.

This has enraged Ankara, which fears advances by Kurdish militia in northern Syria could stoke separatism among its own Kurdish minority.

What they are saying

“Resorting to terrorist groups like the YPG 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.” – Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

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