Earlier this week, the White House warned the Turkish government to focus its offensive on the self-declared Islamic State terrorist group, and to stop its offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria, Turkey and Iran.
Obama: Bomb ISIS, Not Kurds
In a press meeting, the Huffington Post asked Obama if he was concerned that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan would use the bombing campaign against ISIS as an excuse to target the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a Kurdish political movement that Turkey has outlawed and has labeled as a terrorist organization.
Obama responded to the question by telling reporters that he was working to ensure that the Turkish involvement would be “carefully bound” to combatting ISIL — the acronym the White House uses for the Islamic State — in Syria.
Furthermore, Obama said that Turkey should remain focused on ISIL, indicating that the airstrikes on the PKK take away from the efforts to combat the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group.
Turkish Airstrikes Target Kurds
Since opening up Turkish airfields to American fighter planes, Turkish President Erdogan has begun sending Turkish fighter planes to bomb Kurdish forces in Iraq, Iran and Syria.
A source high up in the U.S. military said that Turkey gave the United States extremely short notice of the bombing attacks in Iraq, which could have injured U.S. special forces who are in the area training Kurdish Peshmerga forces and People’s Protection Unit (YPG) forces in Iraq.
The U.S. has previously stated that the YPG has been one of the most effective partners in the fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State terrorist group.