Efforts with US on safe zone to end if delay happens: Defense minister
Turkish defense minister on Sept. 19 warned that the efforts with the U.S. on the establishment of a safe zone east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria will end if distraction or delay takes place.
"We will continue negotiation and joint efforts [to establish a safe zone] as long as they meet our goals and objectives," Hulusi Akar said in the capital Ankara.
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.
Turkey has accused the U.S. of dragging its feet and having a different concept for the safe zone.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK -- listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S., and the EU -- has been responsible for the deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children, and infants.