President Erdoğan, British PM May discuss Syria, Iraq

President Erdoğan, British PM May discuss Syria, Iraq

President Erdoğan, British PM May discuss Syria, Iraq

AP photo

Turkey wants a different approach in its cooperation with the U.S.-led coalition forces in the region, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Jan. 28 during a joint press conference with visiting British Prime Minister Theresa May.

“[May’s visit] is very important for Turkey and the U.K. in terms of Syria and Iraq. We want to have a different approach toward the cooperation between coalition forces and Turkey,” he said at his palace in Ankara.

Turkey launched the Euphrates Shield operation in late August 2016 in northern Syria to tighten border security, eliminate the terror threat along its borders and support opposition forces in the region.  
Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) forces are fighting both the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD).

May, who is on her first official visit to Turkey as prime minister, also discussed the recently-held Astana talks as well as the upcoming Geneva talks at the end of February, both of which aim to find a political solution in Syria.        

The Astana talks were brokered by Turkey, Russia and Iran, whereas the Geneva talks will take place under the auspices of the United Nations.     

The British premier also said Turkey and the United Kingdom were trying to create conditions for “peace” as well as continue their fight against ISIL in Syria.      

Erdoğan also said he discussed the issue of Cyprus with May.      

Three days of high-level talks in Geneva took place on Cyprus earlier this month under the auspices of guarantor countries Turkey, Greece and the U.K.        

“We also discussed what kind of steps we could take for Cyprus,” the president said.        

May said the U.K. and Turkey were committed to playing their parts “for an early settlement.”

On Jan. 11, Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots exchanged maps on proposed territorial boundaries and the documents were sealed in a U.N. vault.

Talks between two sides are continuing under U.N. auspices in Nicosia.