US must work with Turkey on Syria, says US senator McCain
NEW YORKThe U.S.-Turkey partnership must be revitalized under the Donald Trump administration, Republican Senator John McCain said on Feb. 20 after meeting Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“I had a warm and constructive meeting with President Erdoğan today. I have been a longstanding champion of the U.S.-Turkey alliance based on shared democratic values,” McCain said in a statement. “As we see growing disorder in Europe and the Middle East, I believe this alliance is more vital than ever.”
The senator suggested that the newly-inaugurated U.S. administration would help the country “review and reassess” its current policy in Syria.
“The United States must work with Turkey to deal a rapid and lasting defeat to ISIL [Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant] as part of a broader strategy to strengthen U.S. allies and partners, counter the malign influence of our adversaries, and build a favorable balance of power in the region,” McCain said.
He said Erdoğan “described a proposal to establish safe zones in Syria and retake Raqqa that should receive serious consideration by the United States.”
The senator added he was looking forward to working with American and Turkish partners on “this and other ideas to improve the situation in Syria.”
Ankara has long criticized parts of the previous U.S. administration’s Syria policy, lamenting that its calls for internationally-enforced safe zones inside the war-torn country were falling on deaf ears.
McCain followed family tradition into the Navy and was a war hero during the Vietnam War. He has represented the state of Arizona in the U.S. Senate since 1987 and ran unsuccessfully against Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential election as the Republican nominee.