Manbij roadmap ‘to be turning point in US-Turkey ties’
WASHINGTON - Anadolu Agency
This file photo shows Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu speaking at an event.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said the implementation of a roadmap for the withdrawal of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the northern Syrian city of Manbij is expected to begin after his meeting with his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo.
Turkey considers the YPG as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the EU and the U.S.
“After giving approval to the Manbij [issue] in the east of the Euphrates [river] tomorrow [June 4] as two ministers, we will begin to implement it, which may be a turning point for bilateral relations,” Çavuşoğlu said at an iftar (fast-breaking) program in Washington on June 3.
The Turkish-American National Steering Committee (TASC) had arranged the iftar at the Diyanet Center of America.
The roadmap on Manbij is expected to be announced following the meeting with Pompeo, which would focus on the withdrawal of the YPG from the northern Syrian city and regional stability in the region.
The foreign minister said the U.S. support for the YPG in Syria is one of the most important issues creating dispute between Ankara and Washington.
“We strive for a political solution in Syria. We reject all efforts towards dividing Syria. We have been working as a main actor for the political solution in Syria with Astana, Sochi and Geneva [peace] processes,” he said.
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F-35 AND S-400 ISSUES
Çavuşoğlu also mentioned that a negative atmosphere against Turkey had been created at the U.S. Congress over the delivery of the F-35 fifth generation fighter jets to Ankara.
Turkey’s deal to buy missile defense systems from Russia had also caused tensions between Turkey and the U.S., he said.
“But before we get these systems [from Russia] we wanted to buy them from our allies and the United States. But they did not sell us. We had to buy them from Russia. If the U.S. is ready to sell us, we want to get it from our allies too,” Çavuşoğlu added.
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THE JERUSALEM ISSUE
The foreign minister also spoke about Turkey’s continued support to Palestinians over the status of Jerusalem while underlining that some Muslim countries were not being active enough on the issue.
“Turkey will never abandon Jerusalem,” he said, adding that the time had come to bring a new bill on Jerusalem in the U.N. General Assembly.
“Turkey will continue to fight to preserve the rights of [Muslim] Ummah,” he added.
Turkey’s top diplomat also criticized the U.S. administration for not taking any action for the extradition of Fethullah Gülen, the Pennsylvania-based leader of what Ankara named as the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), which is widely believed to have been behind the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.
“The FETÖ issue would also be discussed during the meeting with Pompeo,” Çavuşoğlu added.