US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaking in the presidential debate on Sunday.
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim criticized US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for her saying that she would arm Kurdish fighters, including those in Syria, in their fight against Islamic State (ISIS) militants if she is elected president.
"Clinton has said she would support Kurds in the region, terrorist organizations with arms if she is elected. What does this mean? Is the US not our ally? What does it mean to support them with arms?" Yildirim asked during a meeting of his Justice and Development Party (AKP) on Tuesday, according to Hurriyet news.
"They supposedly fight against Daesh [ISIS] by arming the YPG, which is an offshoot of the PKK," Yildirim added, referring to the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), which Ankara believes to be a branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a named terrorist organization.
Yildirim said it would be "unacceptable" to confront ISIS using the YPG.
On Sunday, during the presidential debate between her and Donald Trump, Clinton declared that she would "considering arming the Kurds."
"The Kurds have been our best partners in Syria, as well as Iraq. And I know there's a lot of concern about that in some circles, but I think they should have the equipment they need so that Kurdish and Arab fighters on the ground are the principle way that we take Raqqa after pushing ISIS out of Iraq," she said.
America’s relationship with Kurdish forces in Syria has been a sore point for Turkey, who has accused the US of having double standards when it comes to terrorist groups. At the G20 leaders meeting in China in early September, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan insisted that the US and Turkey must present a common front against terrorism and there should be no distinction between “good terrorists” and bad terrorists; all terrorism is bad, he said.