TURKEY’S rows with its Nato allies escalated yesterday over US support for Syrian Kurdish separatists and Germany’s use of a key air base.
Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had reiterated his pledge to destroy the US-backed YPG militia fighting Isis at their White House meeting on Tuesday.
The YPG’s parent organisation the Democratic Union party (PYD) is a sister organisation to Turkey’s banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
“Our president told his counterpart, clearly and plainly, that we would continue combatting YPG,” Mr Cavusoglu said.
He warned that Brett McGurk, the US diplomatic envoy to the Operation Inherent Resolve coalition, should not “poison” the administration by backing Kurdish groups in a continuation of Obama-era policies.
“This McGurk is definitely supporting the PKK and YPG. It would be beneficial for this person to change.”
Hawkish Republican Senator John McCain demanded the Turkish ambassador’s expulsion after Mr Erdogan’s bodyguards attacked pro-PYD demonstrators outside the embassy residence on Tuesday afternoon.
“We should throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America,” he said yesterday.
Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said “we won’t beg” Germany to keep its forces at the huge Incirlik air base, from where many coalition operations are launched.
On Tuesday German Green party MP and co-chair Cem Ozdemir — the son of a Turkish immigrant — moved a motion to withdraw the 270 airmen and Tornado reconnaissance jets from the base after Ankara blocked an MP’s visit