Erdoğan says U.S. should hand SDF commander Kobani to Turkey
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday said the United States should hand Syrian Kurdish commander Mazloum Kobani to Turkey after a bipartisan group of senators urged U.S. President Donald Trump to invite him to Washington, state-run Anadolu Agency reported.
The invitation of the leader of previously U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to Washington prompted an intense response from Ankara.
Turkey sees the SDF and its affiliates as offshoots of outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has waged three-decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil.
Kobani was a high-ranking figure in the PKK before he joined the SDF and is the subject of an outstanding Interpol red notice for multiple terror attacks targeting the Turkish security forces, Erdoğan said during a televised interview on Turkey's state-run broadcaster TRT.
Fahrettin Altun, Turkish Presidency's communications director, on Thursday said that Turkey was “deeply concerned” about the United State's treatment of Kobani as “a legitimate political figure”.
Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Marsha Blackburn were joined by Democratic Senators Chris Van Hollen, Jeanne Shaheen and Richard Blumenthal in writing a letter to Trump, in which they asked him to invite the SDF commander to the United States to discuss the situation in northeast Syria.