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Erdogan opposes transfer of arms to Syrian Kurds

Turkish president says that fighters are ‘equal to PKK,’ which Ankara considers a terrorist group


ANKARA, Turkey — Turkey would not agree to any US arms transfers to Kurdish fighters battling Islamic militants in Syria, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Sunday.

Turkey views the Kurdish fighters as an extension of the PKK, which has waged a 30-year insurgency in Turkey and is designated a terrorist group.

The state-run Anadolu news agency on Sunday quoted Erdogan as saying the fighters are “equal to the PKK” and that Turkey “would not say ‘yes’ to such a thing.”

Turkey’s opposition to arms transfers could hamper the US-led coalitions’ efforts to fight the extremists and further complicate relations between Turkey and the United States.

The United States has said it has engaged in intelligence sharing with Kurdish fighters and officials have not ruled out future arms transfers to the Kurdish fighters.

Kurdish fighters battling the Islamic State for several months in the Syrian town of Kobani, near the border with Turkey, have been requesting assistance from the US-led coalition for much of the past month, warning that the city could fall at any moment.

Turkey’s Kurdish population has been protesting in the streets against Ankara’s refusal to intervene in the fighting.

BY AP October 19, 2014, 2:43 pm 


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