Turks Predictably Blast Trump Military Aid To Kurds, Further Polarizing Sunni / Shiite Divide & NATO — US Has No Visible Plan For Syria or Anywhere Else In Arab / Muslim World, Just As In Korea

“I hope this mistake will be reversed as soon as possible,” Erdogan said.

The Turkish leader also said he would convey his concern directly to President Trump in a visit to Washington next week.

Erdogan’s prime minister, Binali Yildirim, also denounced the American decision, telling reporters in Ankara, the Turkish capital,

“It is not possible for us to accept an initiative that would mean direct or indirect help to P.K.K.”

The foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, used stronger language, saying that every weapon the group obtains is a threat to Turkey.

Cavusoglu, speaking in Montenegro, echoed an earlier statement from another minister,

who called the decision to arm the group a “wrong” move that could harm Turkey.

“Every weapon that goes to Y.P.G. is a threat against Turkey,”

Cavusoglu said, according to the pro-government newspaper Sabah.

“The United States knows our opinions well. In our Washington visit, we will share those reasons with Trump. Our president will meet Trump himself.”

The first official criticism came from another official, Nurettin Canikli, who is not usually a front-line spokesman on government policy.

“We cannot accept the presence of terrorist organizations that would threaten the future of the Turkish state,”

Mr. Canikli, a deputy prime minister, said in an interview with the private broadcaster A Haber.

“We hope the U.S. administration will put a stop to this wrong and turn back from it.

Such a policy will not be beneficial; you can’t be in the same sack as terrorist organizations.”

Analysts said there were several reasons the Turkish government might play down the event:

It could be looking for concessions from the United States to make up for the decision,

or it could be trying to reassure its supporter,

or to de-emphasize the embarrassment that came from the decision being announced

just as Turkish officials were arriving in Washington to lobby against it.

For their part, the Syrian Kurds expressed gratitude over the American move.

“It is a historical decision that came after years of trust and coordination between the Kurdish units and our partners in the coalition,”

said Shervan Darweesh, a Syrian Kurdish official and spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces,

the umbrella group of Arab and Kurdish fighters in Syria battling the Islamic State, also known as ISIS.

“Now the fight against ISIS will be more effective and swift.”

Asked about the Turkish complaints, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis played down the disagreement.

“We’ll work out any of the concerns,” Mr. Mattis told reporters in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he was meeting with other NATO defense ministers.

US officials said that much of the weapons and equipment that was to be provided to the Syrian Kurds was already in Syria and could be distributed very soon.

“We have a certain amount of supply in the country already,”

Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the American-led task force that is fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, said in a briefing for Pentagon reporters.

“Some of that may be distributed very quickly.”

Colonel Dorrian said that the supply would be “metered out” for specific operations

and that American advisers would monitor the flow to ensure that it was used to fight the Islamic State, and not diverted elsewhere.

He said that the Kurdish and Arab members of the Syrian Democratic Forces would receive the same types of weapons.

Explaining the need to provide the arms, Colonel Dorrian said that

there are more Islamic State fighters in Raqqa than in any other city or town in Syria and Iraq, including Mosul in Iraq,

and that the militants in Raqqa have car bombs and have been fortifying their positions.

Colonel Dorrian did not say when the operation to seize Raqqa would begin.

But the American-backed fighters have been closing in on the city,

and Colonel Dorrian said that the decision to provide them with heavier arms would enable them to accelerate the operation.

Source: Turkey Assails U.S. Decision to Arm Syrian Kurds – The New York Times