Turkish, US officials discuss Syria

Turkish, US officials discuss Syria

ANKARA-Anadolu Agency
Turkish, US officials discuss Syria

Turkey and the United States have discussed the latest developments in Syria as the latter’s special envoy, James Jeffrey, pays a two-day visit to Turkey.

Jeffrey met with Deputy Defense Minister Yunus Emre Karaosmanoğlu as well as other defense officials in capital Ankara, the defense ministry said in a written statement.

The delegations discussed the developments in Syria and the eastern Mediterranean, as well as bilateral and regional security matters, according to the statement.

Defense Minister Hulusi Akar also met with U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield, and Jeffrey on Aug. 27.

Jeffrey is also expected to hold talks with presidential adviser İbrahim Kalın on Aug. 28 in Istanbul.

“We have exciting developments on the Syrian account,” Jeffrey told reporters late Aug. 26 as he arrived in Ankara from Geneva following the third round of the constitutional committee meeting.

In Geneva, he also met Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Önal to review the course of the efforts for a political transition.

Apart from the political prospects, the Turkish and American officials continue to engage in dialogue over the YPG’s role in Syria as the latter’s top partner in the fight against ISIL.

Referring to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks on Aug. 26 when he said the U.S. had sided with terrorist organizations instead of its NATO ally Turkey, Jeffrey said that the U.S. is “a close ally of Turkey. We proved our value in many fields outside of Syria.”

Akar: YPG, SDF same to us

In an interview with state-run Anadolu Agency on Aug. 27, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar reiterated that Turkey sees the YPG as a terror organization and said changing its name to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) will not alter the Turkish position.

“We cannot agree with our allies on that matter. We keep this issue on the table and tell them: The PKK is equal to the YPG, the YPG is equal to terror. Recognizing the PKK as Kurdish, as the representative of the Kurds, is wrong and against facts,” Akar stated.

Recalling Turkey’s deals with Russia and the U.S. in October 2019 in the aftermath of Turkey’s Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria, Akar said either side have kept their promises to clear the area of terrorists.

On Idlib, the ceasefire that was reached in early March still holds despite minor incidents, Akar stated, reaffirming that the Turkish-Russian joint military patrolling missions will continue along the M4 highway despite provocations by radical groups.