By Emin Avundukluoglu
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that he would demand the extradition of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) leader during his upcoming meeting with the U.S. president.
Speaking to journalists ahead of visits to China and the U.S., Erdogan said that he would discuss the extradition of Fetullah Gulen with Donald Trump on May 16.
"There are some documents and information we have prepared, which we will present to him," said Erdogan. "In my opinion, the United States of America should not be an incubation center for FETO."
FETO and the U.S.-based Gulen are accused by Turkey of being behind the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which martyred 249 people and left some 2,200 injured. It is also accused of infiltrating educational and other institutions both in Turkey and worldwide for its own ends, including subverting the state.
Erdogan also discussed the issue of the U.S. arming the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), considered by Turkey as an affiliate of the PKK terrorist organization.
"These are contrary developments to our relations and strategic agreement with the U.S.," said Erdogan. "We do not want those issues, [...] we will discuss them."
Erdogan said the U.S. was still in a transition process after Trump's presidency. "We should be more careful and sensitive due to this transition process."
The Turkish president said Turkey was the only country to fight Daesh at the highest level. "Is there such a country fighting Daesh like Turkey? No, there is not. All of them are just babbling about it."
"As Turkey, we have carried out the operations [against Daesh] both inside and outside. We will continue to carry them out. This can be Daesh, PKK, or YPG," said Erdogan.
He added: "Turkey is an ally with the U.S. in NATO. For this reason, such a powerful country, with which we are in alliance within NATO, should surely take steps in the [northern Syrian] region with its powerful ally [Turkey]. We do not wish to associate the terrorist organizations with the U.S and the U.S. with the terrorist organizations. We never approve it."
On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced that Trump had approved the arming of the SDF ahead of an attempt to drive Daesh from Raqqah, the last Syrian city held by the terror group.
The SDF is spearheaded by the PKK/PYD and its armed wing, the PKK/YPG. Turkey views both as the Syrian affiliates of the terrorist PKK, which has fought a 33-year war against Turkey and is also listed as a terror organization by the U.S. and EU.
However, the U.S. has used the PKK/PYD as its ally in Syria in combatting Daesh. Turkey has repeatedly called on the U.S. to end its ties to the PKK/PYD and offered to help take Raqqah.
The PKK resumed its armed campaign against Turkey in July 2015. Since then, it has been responsible for the deaths of some 1,200 Turkish security personnel and civilians, including a number of women and children.