US delegation in Ankara after Turkey’s Afrin operation
Sevil Erkuş - ANKARA
A U.S. delegation is having talks in Ankara on Jan. 23, after Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” into Syria’s Afrin province.
The U.S. delegation, led by Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Jonathan Cohen and officials from the Department of Defense, are in Ankara for talks as part of a joint working group that meets periodically.
They are meeting in the Foreign Ministry with their Turkish partners headed by Ahmet Muhtar Gün, deputy secretary of the ministry.
The working group’s agenda includes a number of issues that have led to tension in bilateral relations in recent months including the visa crisis and ongoing investigations of U.S. consular staff.
In another meeting in the afternoon, U.S. Department of Defense officials, headed by Cohen, will discuss the “struggle against terrorism” at the General Staff, where the Turkish side will brief them about the ongoing “Operation Olive Branch.”
Ankara has reacted angrily to a recent announcement that the U.S.-led coalition forces will establish a local “border force” composed of Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters and Arab forces in Syria along the border with Turkey and Iraq. In Ankara, the U.S. delegation is expected to make a detailed presentation on their military plans for Syria.