Top US officials visit Ankara seeking a ceasefire in northern Syria
Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu will meet with U.S. National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien in Ankara, as Washington seeks to convince Ankara to agree to a ceasefire with the YPG in Syria.
O’Brien will be visiting Ankara as part of a delegation led by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who will hold talks with Turkish officials on Oct. 17 on the issue of Turkey’s offensive in northeastern Syria.
On Oct. 9, Turkey launched Operation Peace Spring in northern Syria targeting the YPG.
“While the protection of our existential national security interests is at stake, all other considerations are exhaustive. No sanctions or threats, no matter where they come from at such a time, are unacceptable and do not affect our determination,” Çavuşoğlu said, addressing the parliament to inform lawmakers about Operation Peace Spring.
Turkey will retaliate against U.S. sanctions over Ankara’s military operation into northeast Syria, the minister said.
Turkey expected the U.S. Congress to turn back from its “damaging approach,” he said and added that ties between Ankara and Washington were at a critical juncture. Çavuşoğlu said he would convey this to the U.S. delegation coming to Ankara.
The minister said countries criticizing Turkey’s operation in northern Syria most, especially France, aim to establish a terrorist state in Syria.
“Look at the countries that react the most today (to the operation). Especially France, their goal is to establish a terrorist organization here. To this end, they have done very serious work in the field and the neighboring regions. The reason they attacked us so much, therefore, is the frustration they experienced when we broke this game,” he said.
The minister also suggested that the YPG released ISIL members in northern Syria and gave them money to attack Turkey during Operation Peace Spring.