FM Çavuşoğlu says Turkey’s ‘so called-ally stalling’ Syria safe zone process
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Sept. 10 that Washington is stalling the implementation of an agreement to create a “safe zone” in northern Syria and recent acts by the U.S. are nothing but “cosmetic” moves.
Speaking to reporters at a news conference in Ankara, Çavuşoğlu said that the United States’ approach to the safe zone agreement has been unsatisfactory. “The steps taken are cosmetic. We see that the U.S. wants to enter a stalling process,” he said.
“The U.S. did not keep its promise in northern Syria, including the Manbij roadmap, due to its engagement with the PKK/YPG terror group. Yes, there are some joint patrols but other than that the steps taken or said to have been taken are cosmetic,” he said, referring to a roadmap in a city elsewhere in Syria.
“We’re talking about a so-called ally who can’t act independently of a terrorist organization,” Çavuşoğlu stated.
“The U.S. increases its engagement with them. The U.S. aims to provide a safe zone for these terrorists,” he said, referring to the YPG group, which forms a large part of the U.S.-backed SDF.
Çavuşoğlu reiterated that Turkey will unitarily intervene in the region if the deal with the U.S. does not produce results.
He said Washington’s approach so far had served the YPG forces more than Turkey.
Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also warned the U.S. for its arms support to the YPG.
“Ankara expected the U.S. to stand with Turkey on the issue of the safe zone,” Erdogan said. “But, we are uncomfortable with [the U.S.] providing equipment and ammunition to these terrorists with almost 50,000 trucks.”
Turkey and U.S. military personnel Sept. 8 completed the first joint ground patrol for the formation of a safe zone east of River Euphrates in northern Syria.
The patrol was backed by unmanned air vehicles and helicopters.
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 YPG, a group the U.S. has sometimes been allied with, over Turkey’s objections.
Ankara says the YPG is the Syrian offshoot of the PKK, which it lists as a terror group.