FM Cavusoglu casts doubt on joint plan with US in Syria
Iran Press TV
Thu Oct 3, 2019 04:33PM
Turkey says it has doubts whether joints efforts with the United States to form a so-called safe zone in northeast Syria will ever produce the expected results.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday Ankara was ready to launch a cross-border offensive to push back Kurdish YPG militants from border areas.
"We think this ongoing process with the United States will not take us to the point we desire. The information coming from the field proves this," he told national broadcaster A Haber.
"We must take steps to clear the terrorist organizations from our vicinity and return refugees there," he added.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar also told state-run Anadolu news agency on Thursday that Ankara was dissatisfied with the lack of progress made over plans for the formation of the safe zone.
"Unfortunately, we are far behind our expectations regarding the establishment of a safe zone. We are patiently trying every way to solve the problem along our border with our allies," Akar said.
"As we have already mentioned before, we have completed our preparations in case of any possibility. Our plans are ready."
The remarks came two days after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara's patience had run out and it had no choice but to act alone given the lack of progress made with the United States.
On August 7, Turkey and the US reached an agreement on the establishment of a joint operation center in the northern part of Syria after Ankara's threats to launch an operation against YPG militants and push them away from the Turkish border.
Erdogan had given the US until the end of September for concrete results on the development of a purported safe zone on Turkey's border with Syria.
Turkey views the YPG as the Syria branch of the homegrown Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) militant group, which has been seeking an autonomous Kurdish region in Turkey since 1984.
Turkey seeks to establish a 32-kilometer (20-mile) safe zone in northern Syria, and has stressed that it wants the YPG cleared from the region.
The Syrian government, which is opposed to Turkish and US military activities on its soil, has slammed the agreement, labeling it as a violation of Syria's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as international law.
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