Preparations completed along the border for safe zone: Erdoğan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said the preparations along the border with Syria have been completed for a safe zone, speaking before his departure to New York to attend the U.N. General Assembly in New York.
“All of our preparations have been completed along the border. We are together with the U.S. in NATO and we have continued our strategic partnership for many years,” Erdoğan said about the establishment of a safe zone east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria.
“But in a place where the United States is not invited, we cannot afford to ignore the support it has given to terrorist organizations. In other words, their support for terrorist organizations such as YPG / PKK is obvious,” he added.
Erdoğan stressed that Turkey will clear off terrorist organizations with the establishment of a safe zone.
On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center.
The agreement also envisaged setting up necessary security measures to address Turkey's security concerns, including clearing the zone of the terrorist YPG/PKK, a group the U.S. has sometimes been allied with, over Turkey’s objections.
The YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror group, which for more than 30 years has been responsible for the deaths of nearly 40,000 people in Turkey, including many children, women, and infants.
Erdoğan also announced Ambassador Volkan Bozkir's nomination for the 75th U.N. General Assembly presidency till September 2021.
Turkey's president will visit the U.S. on Sept. 21-25 to attend the 74th session of the U.N. General Assembly.
Erdoğan will attend the U.N. Climate Action Summit to be hosted by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sept. 23, ahead of the high-level General Debate.
Erdoğan will address the assembly and meet with Guterres on Sept. 24, the debate's first day.
He will also deliver a speech at the first Leaders Dialogue meeting titled "Mega trends Impacting the Achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals."
Along with Pakistani premier Imran Khan, Erdoğan is also expected to host a high-level event on "Fighting Hate Speech."
A trilateral meeting with Malaysia and Pakistan will additionally be held as part of the General Assembly meetings.
During his stay in New York, Erdoğan is expected to hold bilateral talks with leaders from different countries.
Erdoğan will attend the 10th Turkey Investment Conference Gala Dinner which will be organized by the Turkish-American Business Council.
He is also expected to meet representatives of Turkish, Muslim and Jewish communities during his visit and attend the opening of a photo exhibition featuring the works of renowned Turkish-Armenian photographer Ara Guler.
Turkish FM meets UN chief
Meanwhile Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu met on Sept. 20 with the U.N. chief.
Çavuşoğlu told reporters he had a "useful" meeting with Antonio Guterres and discussed a range of issues, including Syria and the constitutional committee for the war-torn country.
The meeting was closed to the media.
He said U.N. Special Envoy to Syria Geir Pedersen will go to Damascus, Syria to meet with the regime Monday.
"After this meeting, we can say when we will announce the constitutional committee," Çavuşoğlu said.