Turkish, US presidents to speak over phone
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his counterpart United States President Donald Trump will speak over the phone on Jan. 24, according to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.
“Tomorrow, the two presidents will speak over the phone,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters on Jan. 22 in the French capital Paris.
Çavuşoğlu’s remarks came after a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the sidelines of the launch of the International Partnership against Impunity for the Use of Chemical Weapons hosted by the French Foreign Ministry.
He said Trump wished to make the phone call.
“The time has also been finalized,” Çavuşoğlu added, without providing further details.
The White House later said it expects de-escalation vis-a-vis the northwestern Syrian city of Afrin to be on the agenda during call.
“We want them to de-escalate. I think you can expect that to be part of the conversation. But I’m not going to get ahead of their call. And we’ll have a readout after that takes place,” spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters.
Çavuşoğlu said he had discussed bilateral issues with Tillerson, particularly regarding Syria, during their meeting.
Turkey’s top diplomat also gave details of his conversation with British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, saying Johnson also supported the Turkish Armed Forces’ operation in Afrin.
“Everyone is touching upon the humanitarian aspect of the operation. No country is more sensitive to this issue than Turkey,” Çavuşoğlu said.
“We have already delivered humanitarian aid to the local people. We have built two camps; these two camps right now consist of 4,000 people,” he said.
“We will build more. We have also provided healthcare services. The local people are glad about this. Because we only target terrorists,” said the foreign minister.
Turkey launched “Operation Olive Branch” on Jan. 20 to remove Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) terrorists from Afrin.