President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that anti-American sentiments is growing because of the U.S.’ support for the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria. He added that when he showed to Tillerson all this on a screen, he complained that ‘anti-Americanism is on the rise in Turkey because Turkey broadcast this sort of information on TVs every day. Erdoğan’s statements came as a joint Turkish-American committee continued talks in Washington D.C. in a bid to resolve outstanding problems between the two allies. The U.S. State Department spokesperson on March 8 said talks between Turkish and American officials had begun in the U.S. capital and many issues would be discussed. Heather Nauert told reporters that the meeting is an introductory one where the two nations can work out some of these issues. When asked if Washington was willing to pressure Ankara to stop the Afrin offensive, Nauert said it would not come as a surprise if this issue appeared in the talks. On the Turkish side, Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Önal has been presiding over the committee on Syria, Deputy Undersecretary Cihad Erginay on the FETÖ and Fazlı Corman, the director general for South Asia at the Foreign Ministry, on Iraq. According to Turkish officials, the primary agenda of the Syrian committee is Turkey’s demand to remove the People’s Protection Units (YPG) from Manbij, which lies to the west of the Euphrates River in northern Syria. The meeting will be also about FETÖ, Turkey’s procurement of the S-400 missile system from Russia, migration and visa issues.
The U.S. has provided approximately US $2.2 billion worth of arms and ammunition to the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) and other similar terrorist organizations under the guise of fighting against Daesh. A report published by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) and the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN) stated that Washington is using “vaguely worded legal documents which obscure Syria as the weapons’ final destination – a practice experts say threatens global efforts to combat arms trafficking and puts the Eastern European governments who sell the weapons and ammunition at risk of breaching international law”. The U.S. bypasses checks on international weapons trafficking, and omits documentary evidence regarding the final destination of the weapons. Weapons can be diverted to any group, a dangerous practice that puts the global arms control system at risk. The report investigated the Pentagon’s weapons shipment to Syria using procurement records, ship-tracking data, official reports, leaked emails, and interviews with insiders.