Erdogan says US funding of Syrian Kurdish militia to impact Turkey’s decisions

President Tayyip Erdogan’s comments followed the release of the US Department of Defense’s 2019 budget, which includes funds to train and equip local forces in the fight against Daesh in Syria. (Reuters)
Updated 13 February 2018
0

Erdogan says US funding of Syrian Kurdish militia to impact Turkey’s decisions

ANKARA: A decision by the US to continue to fund the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia will affect Turkey’s decisions, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, ahead of a visit this week by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
US officials have said that Tillerson expects to have difficult conversations when he visits Turkey on Thursday and Friday, given that the NATO allies have starkly diverging interests in Syria.
Turkey has been enraged by US support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which Ankara sees as a terrorist organization and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). Washington has backed the YPG in the fight against Daesh in Syria.
“Our ally’s decision to give financial support to the YPG ... will surely affect the decisions we will take,” Erdogan said in a speech to members of his ruling AK Party in parliament.
His comments followed the release of the US Department of Defense’s 2019 budget, which includes funds to train and equip local forces in the fight against Daesh in Syria.
Turkey last month launched an incursion into Syria, which it calls “Operation Olive Branch” to sweep the YPG from its southern border. It has also threatened to press on to the Syrian town of Manbij, under the control of a YPG-led force, and has warned American troops stationed there not to get in the way.
Washington says it has no plans to withdraw its soldiers from Manbij and two US commanders visited the town last week to reinforce that message.
“It is very clear that those who say ‘we will respond aggressively if you hit us’ have never experienced an Ottoman slap,” Erdogan said in parliament.
That was an apparent reference to comments made by US Lt. Gen. Paul Funk during a visit to Manbij.


Manama charges 169 over terror ring

Updated 25 September 2018
0

Manama charges 169 over terror ring

  • Prosecutors also accused Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard of providing arms and training for the militants

ABU DHABI: Bahrain charged 169 people on Tuesday with being part of a militant group they referred to as the “Bahraini Hezbollah.” 

Prosecutors said in a statement they already have 111 people in custody after a series of raids on the island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia. Charges against suspects in the case range from attempted murder to damaging property, as well as illegally possessing and hiding weapons.

It offered no names for the accused. It wasn’t immediately clear if they had legal counsel.

Prosecutors also accused Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard of providing arms and training for the militants. 

In recent years, the kingdom has revoked the citizenship of over 700 people since 2012, including 115 in a mass terrorism trial in May.

Amid the crackdown, local Shiite militant groups have carried out several attacks on security forces.

“The Public Prosecution had been informed by the Department of criminal investigation ... that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have ordered some of their members to work on unifying different Bahraini militant groups,” the statement said.

“(The groups) would get involved in one terrorist organisation which they called Bahrain’s Hezbollah,” it said, adding the group was planning to send Bahrainis to Iraq, Lebanon and Iran for military training. A trial is set for Oct. 3, Bahrain News Agency said.

The kingdom has seen occasional unrest since 2011.

Bahrain is a strategic island where the US Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based.