Turkish opposition parties have criticized the U.S.' decision to provide arms support to the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG), and are urging President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to cancel his upcoming visit to the U.S. to meet with President Donald Trump on May 16.
Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) Deputy Chairman Öztürk Yılmaz said that the U.S. announcing arms support to an entity considered a terror group by its NATO-ally Turkey is a very wrong step that has shaken up the trust and friendship between the two countries.
Yılmaz stated that the controversial decision was announced as Turkish Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar, Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın and National Intelligence Organization (MIT) Chief Hakan Fidan were in Washington for meetings prior to Erdoğan's visit, and this fact alone is sufficient for the president to cancel his visit.
Ismet Büyükataman, general secretary of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), also underlined the timing of the announcement, describing it as a move "beyond political disrespect, a mockery against Turkey."
"The adoption of this decision while Turkey is fighting against terrorism and right before President Erdoğan's visit is clear proof of the hostile attitude, sickening plans on Turkey by the U.S.," Büyükataman said.
He added that the statements assuring that the YPG would not remain in Raqqa after Daesh's ouster from the city have no credibility in the eyes of Turkish people.
Despite Turkey's objections, the Trump administration has approved providing heavier weapons to the YPG, the Syrian affiliate of the PKK, for the operation to drive Daesh out of Raqqa.
Turkey believes that the U.S.'s partnering force, the YPG/PYD, is the extension of the PKK, a terrorist organization recognized by the U.S. and Turkey.