Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday rejected calls for Turkey to arm the main Kurdish party in Syria, describing the group as a terrorist organisation.
Mr Erdogan said the Democratic Union Party (PYD) was the same as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has waged a 30-year insurgency for self-rule in southeastern Turkey.
The armed wing of the PYD, the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), has been engaged in heavy fighting in recent weeks with ISIL for control of the northern Syrian town of Kobani.
“There has been talk of arming the PYD to form a front here against ISIL. For us, the PYD is the same as the PKK, it’s a terrorist organisation,” Mr Erdogan said aboard a plane returning from Afghanistan.
“It would be very, very wrong to expect us to openly say ‘yes’ to our Nato ally America to give this kind of support. To expect something like this from us is impossible,” he was quoted as saying by the state-run Anatolia news agency.
French President Francois Hollande last week called on Turkey to open open its border to allow reinforcements to reach Kobani while the PYD itself called on Ankara to allow its territory to be used for transferring weapons.
The United States said on Thursday it held direct talks for the first time with the PYD.
Ankara is reluctant to arm Kurds and intervene militarily against the militants, fearing the creation of an effective Kurdish fighting force on its border.
* Agence France-Press
Updated: October 19, 2014 04:00 AM