Turkey dismisses ‘safe zone in Syria’ reports
ANKARATurkish 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.