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Turkey's Erdogan slams U.S. over Kurdish rebels

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - 01:02

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan chastises the United States for its support of Syrian Kurdish PYD rebels, which Turkey considers to be a terrorist organization. Rough Cut - Subtitled (no reporter narration).

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ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan upbraided the United States for its support of Syrian Kurdish PYD rebels on Wednesday (February 10), saying Washington's inability to understand the group's true nature had turned the region into a "sea of blood". Erdogan's comments, a day after Turkey summoned the U.S. ambassador over its support for the Syrian Kurds, illustrate Ankara's growing frustration with its NATO ally, which backs Syrian Kurdish rebels in the battle against Islamic State. Adding to the tension, the army said one Turkish soldier was killed and another wounded when security forces clashed with Kurdish militants crossing over from Syria. Ankara sees the Syrian Kurdish PYD as terrorists, citing their links to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has carried out a violent, three-decade insurgency for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey's southeast. "Are you on our side or the side of the terrorist PYD and PKK organisation? America, you can't introduce us to the PYD. We know them very well. We know Daesh very well. You are unable to understand the nature of the Syrian-Kurdish PYD and the PKK, who have turned the region into a sea of blood," Erdogan said on Wednesday, referring also to Islamic State's name using an Arabic acronym. Ankara summoned the U.S. ambassador to express its displeasure after State Department spokesman John Kirby said on Monday (February 8) the United States did not regard the PYD as a terrorist organisation. A ceasefire between the PKK and the government collapsed in July following what the government said were attacks on security forces, plunging southeast Turkey into its worst violence since the 1990s and scuppering peace talks. The PYD and the PKK share not only ideology but fighters, with the PKK drawing Syrian Kurdish fighters to its camps in northern Iraq and Turkish Kurds serving among the PYD ranks. As well as battling both a Kurdish insurgency and Islamic State, Turkey has been grappling with an influx of more than 2.5 million refugees since the start of the Syrian civil war. "It is time to put into practice solutions recognised by everyone on the Syrian problem, which has become a domestic security issue for Turkey," Erdogan said. Turkey's spending on the Syrian refugee crisis has reached $10 billion, while the United Nations has given just $455 million, Erdogan said.

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Turkey's Erdogan slams U.S. over Kurdish rebels

Wednesday, February 10, 2016 - 01:02