Turkey will look for alternatives if the U.S. cannot fulfill its defense needs, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Tuesday.
Speaking at a live interview with Guy Johnson on Bloomberg TV during his visit to Britain, Erdoğan said that Turkey will figure out a way to fulfill its defense needs if the U.S. hesitates to provide it.
Turkey has criticized the U.S. for handing out weapons to terrorist PKK-linked People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria for free, and not selling them to Ankara.
After Ankara’s repeated concerns, the U.S. administration, under the term of President Donald Trump, said they would collect the weapons given to the YPG. Yet, the promise made to Ankara has not been kept, Turkish officials say.
Upon the strong criticism from Turkey, U.S. President Donald Trump had promised that his country will halt providing weapons to the YPG during a phone conversation with President Erdoğan on Nov. 24. Welcoming those statements, Ankara stressed that the U.S. needs to take concrete steps and retrieve the weapons that it had provided to the terrorist group.
However, the Pentagon later stated that the U.S. was merely “reviewing pending adjustments to the military support provided to our Kurdish partners.” Spokesman Eric Pahon said the U.S. would “continue partnership with the SDF.”
The contradicting statements from Pentagon and Trump failed to alleviate the concerns of Ankara, which underlines that the weapons that are provided to the YPG will eventually be transferred to PKK terrorists and used against Turkey.
In a statement, the Pentagon has said the heavy weapons will be retrieved from the YPG as the fight against Daesh nears its end.