Turkish/US relations are strained. Its rapprochement with Russia and normalized ties with Iran, including trade relations with both countries, infuriates Washington.
It has NATO’s second largest military, Ankara increasingly leaning East over West, a sore spot for US-dominated NATO.
Weeks earlier, President Erdogan said “(t)hey went crazy (in Washington) because we made the S-400 (air defense system) agreement” with Russia.
He’s furious over US support for Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters, considers them an extension of Turkey’s outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
On Friday, he accused Washington of supporting ISIS, along with failing to stop supporting Kurdish forces in Syrian areas liberated from its fighters, saying:
Washington “said they were fighting Daesh (ISIS), but what did they do instead?” Gave Daesh a load of dollars.”
“We do not want to enter into an allied relationship with them on Afrin (in northern Syria). The United States has constantly violated our agreements.”
“In Manbij, in Raqqa. When we offered to work there together, they promised that not a single member of the PYD (Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party) would remain there. Don’t worry.”
Washington “does not keep its word.” Erdogan earlier confronted Defense Secretary James Mattis over US support for YPG fighters. He’s concerned about an independent Kurdistan bordering Turkey.
Last month, he blasted Washington for “sacrificing” relations with Ankara, including ambassador John Bass “who doesn’t know his place.”
He referred to suspending US visas to Turkish citizens, vowing retaliation, sharply adding “we do not need you.”
Accusing Washington of supporting ISIS is the latest sign of strained relations, warming with Russia at the same time – good news, but doesn’t let Erdogan off the hook for supporting ISIS, discussed in earlier articles.
When its fighters controlled most Syrian territory, Turkey was involved in ISIS oil smuggling, refining and sales worth hundreds of millions of dollars on the black market, Erdogan and his family members profiting hugely.
Russian aerial surveillance observed and photographed a “living oil pipeline” – vehicles moving as far as the eye could see beyond the horizon, round-the-clock, heading for Turkey, returning empty to reload and head out again.
Sergey Lavrov explained high-level Turkish officials “carefully protect any information about their oil smuggling deals. (It’s) transported (in) the area where the Russian plane was shot down, and (where) the terrorist infrastructure, arms and munitions depots and control centers” are located.
ISIS and other terrorists moved freely back and forth cross-border between Turkey and Syria – al-Nusra and other groups still supported, given safe haven in Turkish territory.
Erdogan blasting US support for ISIS ignores his own ties to terrorist groups. He can’t be trusted.
He’s long coveted annexing northern Syrian territory, angry about US support for Kurdish fighters and control of territory he wants to extend Turkey’s southeastern border.