Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has repeated his accusation that Turkey’s Western allies — especially the United States — supported “terrorist groups” in Syria. Speaking at an award ceremony for the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey on Dec. 29, Erdogan lashed out at past claims in the Western media that Ankara had supported the Islamic State. He said by not backing Turkey’s Operation Euphrates Shield (along with Ankara’s ally, the Free Syrian Army) in their efforts to capture the city of al-Bab from IS, the West was basically tipping the scales in favor of the fanatical group.
Erdogan then steered the conversation to a safer issue: US support for the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People’s Protection Units (YPG). Since the rise of IS in 2014, the Barack Obama administration has cooperated with the PYD in Syria. In the run-up to the PYD’s operation at IS’ capital, Raqqa, the United States gave air support as well as logistical and intelligence backing to the PYD-led Syrian Democratic Forces. With Russia’s military intervention in Syria and Russian overtures to Kurdish groups fighting IS, Washington tried hard to keep its Syrian Kurdish partners happy.