Assad's fate 'to be decided by Syrian people,' says Tillerson

On the fight against Daesh in Syria and Iraq, the statement added that Ankara's allies' financial and military supplies to groups that are considered to be terrorist by Turkey would damage the country's friendly relations with them.

Politician tensions in Turkey will complicate Tillerson's meetings further with Erdogan's government in the midst of a nationwide crackdown that started after an attempted coup last summer.

Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim on Wednesday said the country had ended military operation "Euphrates Shield" against the Islamic State in Syria.

However, this was met with disagreement from Cavusoglu, who complained about USA support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, considered a terrorist group by Ankara.

Addressing a longstanding thorn in Turkish-U.S. ties, Turkey's foreign minister Thursday stated that Washington is coming to agreement with Turkey's view that the terrorist PKK and its Syria wing, the YPG, are indistinguishable.

The United States and Turkey share many broad goals for the region: reducing Iran's ability to disrupt the region; finding a settlement in Syria that allows Syrians to return home; and supporting Iraqis to build a strong, independent, and inclusive government in Baghdad.

Tillerson is now in Ankara on a one-day official visit.

The Turkish FM said he discussed with his United States counterpart the fight against terrorism, the situation in Syria, Iraq and the region.

And Tillerson "emphasized the important role of Turkey, a regional leader and longstanding North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally, to achieve these goals".

The Turkish presence in Syria has added to the complexity of the war against ISIL and seen two crucial United States allies - Turkey and the YPG - fighting one another.

The two sides are also at loggerheads over Fethullah Gulen.

Yildirim said "everything is under control" after the operation cleared around 100km of the border including stopping the YPG from crossing the Euphrates westwards and linking up three mainly Kurdish cantons it holds in northern Syria. Turkey has accused Gulen of spearheading a failed coup against Erdogan's government last summer. Gulen has denied involvement.

While State Department officials in Washington have been laying the groundwork for the change in policy for weeks, Thursday was the first time Tillerson iterated it publicly.

On the arrest earlier this week of a senior Turkish banking official in New York, Cavusoglu said that Turkey believes this was done for "political" reasons. The executive is accused of helping Iran violate U.S. sanctions against the country.

Yildrim said Ankara would bring the issue up and would closely monitor the legal process. "If we have to rely on other terrorist organisations for that, then we have a serious problem", he said.

  • Leroy Wright