Turkey summons US ambassador over State Dept comments on Syria Kurds: reports

Ankara (AFP) –


Turkey's foreign ministry summoned the US ambassador on Tuesday, according to media reports, after State Department spokesman John Kirby angered Ankara by saying that Washington did not consider the main Syrian Kurdish party to be a terrorist organisation.

The Turkish government, which views the Democratic Union Party (PYD) as a terrorist group, expressed its "unease" over the remarks by Kirby during his daily press briefing in Washington on Monday, the Hurriyet newspaper reported.

"We don't, as you know, recognise the PYD as a terrorist organisation. We recognise that the Turks do, and I understand that. Even the best of friends aren't going to agree on everything," Kirby said.

Ankara considers the PYD and the powerful Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) to be affiliates of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged an armed insurgency in Turkey and is blacklisted as a terrorist organisation by much of the international community.

For several months, the US-led coalition's support for the PYD and the YPG has been a source of friction between Washington and its NATO ally Ankara.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week expressed anger over a US high-level delegation's meeting with members of the YPG, which is in control of the flashpoint Kurdish town of Kobane.

"How can we trust (you)?" Erdogan said.

"Is it me who is your partner or the terrorists in Kobane?"

Kurdish forces backed by coalition air strikes ousted IS fighters from Kobane after a months-long struggle in January last year.

Turkey fears the creation of an autonomous Kurdish region in Syria -- similar to the Kurdish region in northern Iraq -- would spur the separatist ambitions of Turkey's own Kurds.