President Erdogan of Turkey — ostensibly an ally of the United States — is accusing the U.S.-led coalition of supporting ISIS, and says he has confirmed evidence of the collusion.
He made the stunning accusations while speaking from the Turkish capital, Ankara, on Tuesday, including the Islamic State on a list of terrorists with the YPG, a socialist Kurdish separatist group:
“They were accusing us of supporting Daesh [Islamic State],” he told a press conference, according to Reuters.
“Now they give support to terrorist groups including Daesh, YPG, PYD. It’s very clear. We have confirmed evidence, with pictures, photos and videos.”
This is just the latest in a series of increasingly alarming accusations from the Muslim president who has been accused himself of transforming Turkey into a totalitarian dictatorship. After a failed military coup in July that many believe Erdogan secretly planned himself, some Turkish officials accused the United States of encouraging the revolt, and Erdogan demanded Obama extradite a political opponent that was exiled to Pennsylvania. Erdogan has also been condemned by numerous non-partisan humanitarian groups for his brutal treatment of Turkey’s Kurdish population, and his crackdown on all free press in Turkey. Turkey is considered a key Middle East ally and the Incirlik base used by U.S. forces is pivotal to our operations in the region.
Erdogan called for Saudi Arabia and Qatar to join a meeting with Russia and Iran, clearly a move intended to persuade other Muslim nations allied to the United States to turn towards the emerging Eastern axis of powers. This competing coalition has been accused of targeting Syrian rebels in order to prop up Bashar al-Assad under the pretense that they’re ridding the region of ISIS.
The U.S. State Department responded by calling the accusations from Erdogan “ludicrous.”