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Turkey’s president, Erdogan, criticises Clinton



Turkey’s President Recep Erdogan has criticised United States presidential candidate Hillary Clinton for her comments on arming Kurdish rebels in the fight against the Islamic State.

President Recep Erdogan told journalists while addressing lawyers on Wednesday in Ankara that Clinton lacked adequate political experience.

He described the comments by the Democratic candidate and former US secretary of state as “very unfortunate” and “political dilettantism.”

In Sunday’s presidential debate with Republican Donald Trump, Clinton ruled out a large-scale operation involving ground troops in Iraq and Syria against Islamic State.

She, however, vowed to go after the extremist group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and offer military aid to the Kurds and others.

Erdogan warned Washington against arming the Kurds, saying working with terrorist organisations is like playing with fire.

In the debate, Clinton did not mention the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, which Turkey regards as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party that is outlawed by Ankara.

She also did not mention by name the PYD’s armed wing, the People’s Protection Units.

The US has allied with the Syrian Kurds against Islamic State since 2014, and its airstrikes have enabled Kurdish forces to capture most of the territory the extremist group held along the Turkish border.

Turkey says the Syrian Kurds have ties with the PKK, while Washington has urged Ankara to refrain from further attacks on the Kurds, straining ties between the NATO allies.

In addition to fighting Islamic State in northern Syria, Turkey is also trying to prevent the Kurds from gaining new ground.Punch