U.S. funding of PYD/PKK will impact Turkey's decisions, Erdoğan says

Speaking to his ruling-AK Party members at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey on Tuesday, Erdoğan said , ahead of a visit this week by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, that a decision by the United States to continue to fund the PYD/PKK terror group will affect Turkey's decisions.

A decision by the United States to continue to fund the PYD/PKK will affect Turkey's decisions, President Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday, ahead of a visit this week by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

U.S. 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 U.S. support for the YPG, which Ankara sees as a terrorist organization and an extension of the PKK terror group that has waged terror campaign against Turkey for over three decades.

"Our ally's decision to give financial support to the YPG... will surely affect the decisions we will take," Erdoğan said in a speech to members of his ruling AK Party in parliament.

His comments followed the release of the U.S. Department of Defence's 2019 budget, which includes funds to train and equip YPG-dominated SDF militias in Syria.

Turkey last month launched a military operation into Syria's northern region, which it calls "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 YPG terrorists, 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 U.S. 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," Erdoğan said in the parliament.

That was an apparent reference to comments made by U.S. Lieutenant General Paul Funk during a visit to Manbij.

It is wrong to say NATO equals the U.S., President Erdoğan said Tuesday, pointing out that all countries in the alliance were equals to the U.S.

In his remarks to the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party's parliamentary group in capital, Erdoğan called on the U.S. to abide by NATO obligations.

"What kind of NATO membership is this? What kind of NATO alliance is this?" he asked.

"As president of Turkey, [I say] NATO is not equal to the U.S., all countries [in the alliance] are equals to the U.S."

The U.S. has supported the PYD/PKK terror group, which is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terrorist organization that has waged a more than 30-year war against the Turkish state which has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.

American support for the terror group has long vexed Ankara as Washington views the PYD/PKK-led SDF as a "reliable partner" in its fight against Daesh and continues to provide it with arms and equipment in the face of strong objections by Turkey.

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