Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan has lashed out at the United States, accusing Washington of supplying crude oil to a rebel group calling itself the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, which Turkey classifies as related to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party PKK, which Ankara has designated a terrorist group.
Turkish news outlet Ahval quoted Erdogan as telling local media that, “They are currently suppyling terrorist organizations, such as the YPG, in [Syria’s] Deir ez-Zor with oil. Terrorist organizations receive 300 million dollars income from crude oil.” The comments were made after a meeting Erdogan had with Syrian President Bashar Assad and Vladimir Putin to discuss the future of the war-torn country after the offensive against the last rebel stronghold, Idlib.
The Turkish president also said that while he supports a political, rather than a military, solution to the rebel problem in Syria, the region should be freed of terrorist organizations. The problem, however, is that the designation of a terrorist group depends on who is doing the designating.
“Moderate opposition coming from as places such Aleppo and and eastern Ghouta are currently in Idlib,” Erdogan said. “I expressed that we will never accept attacks on civilians, which use elements such as the al Nusra Front as an excuse. This will lead to a humanitarian crisis and a new wave of migration. Turkey should not be forced to pay the price of such a move.”
However, the Aleppo and eastern Ghouta rebels are seen by the Syrian government and its Russian partners as terrorist organizations, too, which likely complicates the prospects for a political solution.
The friendly relationship between Washington and Ankara began to fray last month, after Washington refused to extradite an American pastor who is facing charges of terrorism in Turkey. Recently, the Turkish finance minister publicly slammed the U.S. administration’s sanction and tariff policies, claiming that the United States used these to sabotage foreign economies.
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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