Turkey dismisses ‘safe zone in Syria’ reports

Turkey dismisses ‘safe zone in Syria’ reports

Turkey dismisses ‘safe zone in Syria’ reports Turkish Defense Ministry on June 17 dismissed reports about establishing a safe zone in Syria following a meeting between American and Turkish officials in Belgium.

According to a statement issued by the secretary-general’s office under the ministry, “reports released in media and titled ‘safe zone to be created’ do not reflect the truth,” according to state-run Anadolu Agency. 

The reports came after U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık held a meeting at NATO headquarters in Brussels on June 14.

Carter and Işık addressed several security issues and highlighted a “close friendship between the two ally countries during the meeting,” an earlier Pentagon statement said.

Meanwhile, 51 mid- to high-level U.S. State Department diplomats have signed an internal memo critical - “dissent channel cable” – of U.S. policy in Syria, calling for military strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government to stop its persistent violations of a civil war ceasefire. 

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, visiting Copenhagen, told Reuters on June 17: “It’s an important statement and I respect the process, very, very much. I will ... have a chance to meet with people when I get back [to Washington].” 

Russia, on the other hand, condemned the U.S. diplomatic cable. 

“Of course this is at odds with [U.N.] resolutions,” Mikhail Bogdanov, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, said of the calls in comments to Interfax news agency.