Ankara Believes Too Early to Discuss US Proposal on Security Zone in Syria
12:45 25.01.2018(updated 17:05 25.01.2018)
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has proposed to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu the creation of a 30-km security zone in the north of Syria to avoid clashes between US and Turkish forces amid Olive Branch operation.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it would not be right for Turkey and the United States to discuss a " security zone" in Syria until trust issues between the countries is restored, according to the Hurriyet newspaper.
"We have experienced a loss of confidence. Until it is restored, until clear steps are taken to re-create it, I think it is wrong to discuss these topics (security zone). We do not know what their intentions are, but first we need to eliminate the atmosphere of distrust," the newspaper Yeni Safak cites Cavusoglu.
According to Mevlut Cavusoglu, the United States has not kept promises made to Ankara about the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in Syria.
"I explained why we do not have confidence in the United States now: the US has not kept a single word given to us on the YPG issue," he stressed.
Cavusoglu, who discussed the situation in Syria with Tillerson on the phone, said he called for the end of the US support for the Kurdish People's Protection Units. He said that the "United States does not want to face Turkey in the north of Syria" amid operation Olive Branch, according to the reports.
"Those who support the terrorist organisation will become a target in this battle," he told broadcaster A Haber in an interview. "The United States needs to review its solders and elements giving support to terrorists on the ground in a way to avoid a confrontration with Turkey."
Speaking with Erdogan by phone, Donald Trump urged him to de-escalate the country's military incursions in Syrian Afrin.
Turkey's foreign minister stated that Erdogan told Trump in a phone call that US forces should withdraw from northern Syria's Manbij region.
The United States and Turkey have serious disagreements over the supply of the US weapons to Kurdish armed groups in Syria.
The United States should cease its support of the Kurdish units in Syria, if it wants to avoid confrontation with Turkey, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag said on Thursday.
"The US leadership does not want to be confronted by Turkey face to face [in Syria], and we, Turkey, do not want this either. There is a clear way to prevent this from happening – ceasing the support provided to terrorists," Bozdag said referring to the US military assistance to the Syrian Kurds, as aired by the Ahaber broadcaster.
On January 20, Turkish Armed Forces launched an operation, called Olive Branch, against the Kurdish forces in Syria's Afrin district. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced last Sunday about the beginning of a ground operation in Afrin. Damascus strongly condemned Turkey's actions in Afrin, reminding that it is part of Syria. Ankara stated that its operation seeks to ensure the security of its borders and "is targeting only terrorists", according to Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. The Turkish side said it had informed Damascus and Moscow, its co-guarantor in the Syrian peace process, of its operation, and has taken into account the position of Tehran, the third guarantor state.
Russia, in connection with the situation in Afrin, has called for restraint by all the parties and to respect the territorial integrity of Syria.
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