October 25, 2019 - 13:27 AMT
Erdogan urges U.S. to hand over SDF chief

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday, October 25 urged the U.S. to hand over the commander of a U.S.-backed Kurdish-led force that fought against the militant Islamic State, insisting he was a “wanted terrorist”, The Express Tribune reports.

Ties between the United States and Turkey are particularly strained over years-long American support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, viewed as terrorists by Ankara.

Much of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) who fought against the IS group backed by U.S. air support are Kurdish fighters from the YPG.

Mazlum Abdi is head of the SDF.

“This codenamed Mazlum is a terrorist sought with a red bulletin (issued by Interpol),” Erdogan said in an interview with state TRT broadcaster. “America must hand over this man.”

A group of senators including Lindsey Graham this week urged the U.S. state department to fast-track a U.S. visa for Abdi to enable a visit where he can speak to officials on the situation unfolding in Syria.

U.S. President Donald Trump, said in a tweet on Thursday that he had talked with Mazlum Abdi and “really enjoyed” the conversation.

“He appreciates what we have done, and I appreciate what the Kurds have done,” the U.S. president said.