May 18, 2017 / 3:50 PM / in 7 months

Turkish foreign minister says wants U.S. envoy McGurk changed

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Thursday he wanted Brett McGurk, the U.S. special envoy to the coalition against Islamic State, removed from his post, saying he supported Kurdish militants.

Cavusoglu was speaking in an interview with broadcaster NTV after returning from a visit with President Tayyip Erdogan to Washington where they met President Donald Trump.

Ankara regards the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, which is a U.S. ally in the fight against Islamic State, as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) militant group fighting a decades-old insurgency in southeast Turkey.

“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. It would be beneficial if this person is changed,” Cavusoglu said.

Reporting by Daren Butler and Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Dominic Evans

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