Middle East

Trump says US will no longer fund YPG in northern Syria

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US President Donald Trump shake hands before a meeting at the Palace Hotel during the 72nd United Nations General Assembly on September 21, 2017 in New York City (AFP)

US President Donald Trump has promised Turkey that his country will no longer fund the pro-Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), a Turkish presidential spokesperson told Middle East Eye.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Trump spoke by phone on Friday to discuss the situation in Syria. Turkey has long been furious about the US decision to provide supplies to the YPG, who have been fighting as part of the Kurdish-Arab Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition against the Islamic State group.

Turkey considers the YPG a branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged a guerilla war with the Turkish state since 1984.

The presidential spokesperson told MEE that there was also an issue around "3,000 truckloads of weapons" given by the US to the YPG and what will now happen to them.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also told reporters on Friday that Trump had told Erdogan he had issued instructions that weapons should no longer be provided to the YPG.

"Our discomfort regarding the provision of weapons to the YPG was conveyed to Mr Trump once again… Trump very clearly said he had given instructions to not provide weapons to the YPG," Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told a news conference in Ankara.

"We welcome the promise of not providing weapons to the YPG, and want to see it implemented practically."

He added that "this nonsense should have ended a long time ago."

Cavusoglu also said that Russia, Iran and Turkey would decide jointly who would attend Syrian peace talks. Turkey has said it would not accept the presence of YPG representatives.

Although the Trump election was initially welcomed by the Erdogan government, tensions have risen over a number of issues.

Apart from the continued support for the YPG, the refusal to extradite Pennsylvania-based cleric Fethullah Gulen and the prosecution of the Turkish-Iranian gold trade Reza Zarrab have all angered the Turkish government.

Trump tweeted that after his call with Erdogan, he was planning to go golfing with Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson.

“After Turkey call I will be heading over to Trump National Golf Club, Jupiter, to play golf (quickly) with Tiger Woods and Dustin Johnson," he tweeted.

"Then back to Mar-a-Lago for talks on bringing even more jobs and companies back to the USA!”

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