Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said it is wrong for the United States to deny the sale of guns to his guards in response to his crackdown on terrorist organizations. He sat down with PBS NewsHour anchor Judy Woodruff on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly in New York on Monday.
Congress withdrew a proposal allowing Turkish guards to buy $1.2 million in American-made weapons after his security guards were filmed beating protesters outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence in Washington, D.C., on May 16.
A failed coup in July 2016 prompted Erdogan to ramp up arrests of perceived opponents, including thousands of police and civil servants, which put a further strain on U.S.-Turkish relations.
“I think it’s wrong for the United States to fight terrorism with YPG (an acronym for the People’s Protection Units) or PYD (an acronym for the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, a Syrian affiliate of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party). This is something I’ve shared with the higher echelons of the United States. We need to fight these terrorists with the United States. We are not able to acquire those weapons from the United States. ‘Why are you giving these weapons to terrorists?’ is the question that we ask our friends in the United States,” Erdogan said in Monday’s interview.
“Democracy is quite strong in Turkey,” he said, pointing to his election. “We are receiving the full support of our people and we are continuing down our path.”