Erdogan slams US 'impertinence' over Kobane

Turkish leader criticises Washington for pushing for help over Kobane when US earlier stood by amid Assad "massacres".

    Washington is pressing Ankara for use of its air base in southern Turkey by US jets to launch attacks on ISIL [AP]
    Washington is pressing Ankara for use of its air base in southern Turkey by US jets to launch attacks on ISIL [AP]

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan has slammed US "rudeness" over the Syrian conflict, exposing the extent of strains between Washington and Ankara just days after the Turkish president met with US Vice President Joe Biden.

    Ties have soured in recent months over the reluctance of Turkish leaders to intervene militarily in the US-led campaign against the Islamic State In Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) fighters, who have taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria.

    They remained silent in the face of Assad's barbarism and now they are now staging a 'conscience show' through Kobane.

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish president

    Erdogan accused the US of being "rude" for pressuring it to help save the ISIL-besieged Syrian town of Kobane, which is within sight of the Turkish border.

    "Why is somebody coming to this region from 12,000km away?" Erdogan said during an address to a group of businessmen in Ankara, in a clear reference to the US.

    "I want you to know that we are against impertinence, recklessness and endless demands," he said.

    Biden offended Erdogan last month by suggesting his policies in Syria had helped encourage the rise of the ISIL, a slight that prompted the Turkish president to warn his relationship with the US vice president could be "history".

    Washington is pressing Ankara for the use of the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey so US fighter jets can launch assaults on ISIL.

    But Turkey has refused to bow to the pressure, setting several conditions for playing a greater role in the coalition.

    "They looked on as the tyrant [President Bashar] al-Assad massacred 300,000 people. They remained silent in the face of Assad's barbarism and now they are now staging a 'conscience show' through Kobane," Erdogan said.

    "We will resolve our problems not with the help of a 'superior mind' but with the help of our people."

    Biden wrapped up a three-day visit to Turkey on Sunday without a breakthrough on military co-operation over the Syrian crisis.

    But Erdogan's comments contrasted with the relatively upbeat assessment of US officials who said that the meeting with Biden had brought the two sides' positions closer.

    Earlier this week, Erdogan accused the West of coming to the region for "oil".

    "I'm always meeting with them but it does not go any further than what I say. They don't have any sensitivities. They have only one sensitivity: oil, oil, oil...," he said on Monday.

    So far, Turkey's sole contribution to the coalition has been allowing a contingent of Iraqi peshmerga Kurdish fighters to transit Turkish soil to fight against ISIL in Kobane.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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