Turkey is a NATO member — and so, by treaty, an American ally. Yet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan sure didn’t sound like one on during a Thursday: He blamed the United States for, among other things, turning the Middle East into “a sea of blood.”

This all comes back to a big disagreement over one of Syria’s most important issues: the Kurds.

Kurdish militias in northern Syria have proven to be one of most successful battlefield forces fighting ISIS; the United States sees them as among its most effective partners in the country.

At the same time, Turkey’s long-running conflict with Kurdish insurgents inside its own border has become increasing violent, with hundreds dying in the past few months. The Syrian Kurds have a tight relationship with their kin across the Turkish border; Turkey believes the US policy in Syria amounts to funding and arming an anti-Turkish terrorist group.

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