Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu speaks with US counterpart Pompeo on Manbij roadmap

Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu speaks with US counterpart Pompeo on Manbij roadmap

Turkish FM Çavuşoğlu speaks with US counterpart Pompeo on Manbij roadmap

Turkey and the U.S. have held talks on a roadmap for the withdrawal of the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) from the northern Syrian city of Manbij.

“At our meeting with Secretary of State [Mike] Pompeo, we discussed Turkey-U.S. relations, matters related to Syria including a roadmap on Manbij and other regional matters,” Çavuşoğlu said on this Twitter account on June 4, after his meeting with his American counterpart in Washington.

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.

Ahead of his meeting with Pompeo, Çavuşoğlu said the implementation of the roadmap on Manbij may be a “turning point” in bilateral relations with Washington, stressing that the U.S. support for the YPG in Syria is one of the most important issues creating dispute between the two countries.

“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 the Astana, Sochi and Geneva [peace] processes,” he said at an iftar (fast-breaking) dinner in Washington on June 3.

Çavuşoğlu also noted 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 them to us. We had to buy them from Russia. If the U.S. is ready to sell them to us, we want to get it from our allies too,” Çavuşoğlu added.

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 the [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 calls the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ), which is widely believed to have been behind the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey.