Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday accused the United States of creating a "pool of blood" in the region by failing to recognize the main Syrian Kurdish organizations as terror groups.
"Hey America...as you have never recognized them (as terror groups) the region has turned into a pool of blood," Erdogan said in an attack on US policy, referring to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People's Protection Units (YPG) militia.
His remarks, which comes as Turkey cracks down on local Kurdish forces, escalated a growing row between Washington and key NATO member Turkey over the role of Kurdish fighters in the struggle against jihadists in Syria.
They also highlight a long-standing point of tension between Erdogan and US President Barack Obama, who reportedly has called Erdogan the Middle Eastern leader he feels closest too. Obama has remained open to the Kurds, even though he breached his 2008 election promises by not recognizing the Armenian genocide at the hands of the Turks - Russian President Vladimir Putin, on the other hand, did.
Turkey on Tuesday summoned the US envoy to Ankara in protest after the US State Department spokesman said that Washington did not recognize the PYD as a terror group and would continue to support its operations in Syria.
"Hey America! How many times have we had to tell you?" Erdogan said in his fiery address. "Are you together with us or are you with the PYD and YPG terror groups?"
Erdogan launched the attack in one of his regular speeches at the presidential palace to loyal local municipal leaders known as muhtars, that have become known as the forum for the Islamist president's most vehemently anti-Western comments.
Turkey says that the Syrian Kurdish groups are simply a branch of the rebel Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is recognized as a terror group by the United States, and has carried out a string of deadly attacks in Turkey in the last months responding to a brutal crackdown by the Turkish authorities ending a long calm period.
"Is there a difference between the PKK and the PYD? Is there a difference with the YPG?" asked Erdogan.
"We have written proof! We tell the Americans 'it's a terror group'. But the Americans stand up and say 'no we don't see them as terror groups.'"
AFP contributed to this report.