Erdogan says Turkey can not lift state of emergency until fully calm

Washington and Ankara are bitterly at odds over US support for the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, a group that Turkey considers a front for banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) separatists.

The U.S. sees the Syrian Kurds as its best battlefield partner on the ground in northern Syria. "What we saw yesterday - a violent attack on a peaceful demonstration - is an affront to D.C. values and our rights as Americans", said D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.

Citing a cross-border offensive Turkey launched against IS and the YPG in Syria a year ago, Erdogan said "we won't hesitate to launch similar operations if we see the need".

"If these terrorist organisations constitute a threat towards our country, we would do what is necessary by exercising our rights under the rules of engagement".

The decision is meant to accelerate the operation to recapture the key Islamic State group stronghold of Raqqa. "We are not going to beg", he said.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday he wanted Brett McGurk, the USA special envoy to the coalition against Islamic State, removed from his post, saying he supported Kurdish militants.

Ankara considers the YPG to be a terrorist group linked to the outlawed PKK, which has been fighting a decades-long insurgency in Turkey. "It would be beneficial for this person to change", he said.

Cavusoglu said Trump had understood Turkey's position, and did not challenge Erdogan when the Turkish president set out his possible response to the YPG.

Differences over Syria policy have caused friction with Washington, a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally of Turkey's.

"Brett McGurk, the USA's special envoy in the fight against Daesh (Islamic State), is definitely and clearly giving support to the PKK and YPG".

Last month, Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish fighters in Iraq's Sinjar region and YPG militia in Syria.

The State Department has criticized the Turkish government over violence outside its embassy, where Erdogan's security staff broke up an anti-government protest.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senator John McCain, one of the leading foreign policy voices in Congress, on May 18 urged the expulsion of Turkey's U.S. ambassador after violence erupted between protesters and Turkish security personnel during President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's recent visit. "We should throw their ambassador the hell out of the United States of America". Eleven people were injured, including a police officer, and nine were taken to a hospital, Metropolitan Police Chief Peter Newsham said at a news conference on May 17.

"This is the United States of America, this isn't Turkey, this isn't a third-world country, and this kind of thing can not go un-responded to diplomatically and maybe in other ways", McCain added.

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