Turkish official says U.S. supports terrorism by calling SDF leader commander
Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalın on Thursday said the United States supported terrorism by calling the leader of Syrian Kurdish Forces a commander, independent news site T24 reported.
Turkey sees the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and its affiliates as offshoots of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is considered a terrorist group by the United States, the EU and Turkey.
U.S. lawmakers have recently invited Mazloum Kobani, the leader of the SDF who fought for the PKK in Turkey in the 1990s, to Washington and U.S. President Donald Trump praised him several times recently.
"The United States' calling a PKK member general is supporting terrorism directly or indirectly," Kalın said during a televised interview on Turkish broadcaster NTV.
Several Turkish officials strongly criticised the U.S. invitation to Kobani, saying it was unacceptable that Washington should host the commander for a high-level visit and that this amounted to legitimising terrorists.
Turkey's justice ministry on Monday submitted an extradition request for Kobani to the country's foreign ministry, seeking the United States to detain the SDF leader and hand him over to Turkey based on the treaty on extradition in criminal matters between the United States and Turkey.