MESOP : STRANGE STATEMENT BY US STATE DEPARTEMENT – Obama and Erdogan discuss Syrian conflict, cooperation against PKK

20 Feb 2016 – MESOP – Turkey’s presidency said US President Barack Obama had shared his concerns over the Syrian conflict and cooperation against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) on Friday, hours after a tense exchange between the two NATO allies over the role of Kurdish militants, Reuters reported.In a phone conversation that lasted one hour and twenty minutes, Ankara said Obama had told his counterpart President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Turkey had a right to self defense, and expressed worries over advances by Syrian Kurdish militias near Turkey’s border.

Washington did not immediately comment on the call, beyond saying Obama has given his condolences over Wednesday’s bombing in the Turkish capital.

In a daily press briefing with reporters, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the two leaders also discussed the situation in Syria. The Turkish presidency said Obama and Erdogan agreed to increase cooperation in the fight against terrorist groups and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), Zaman daily reported.The State Department, which sees the Syrian Kurdish YPG fighters as useful allies against Islamic State, said the United States had “not provided any weapons of any kind” to the group.