Syria: Kurdish YPG fighters dominate Turkey-US talks
- Author: Leroy Wright Mar 31, 2017,
Mar 31, 2017, 4:51
They are hard options. The operation had the twin effect of halting a military campaign led primarily by Syrian Kurds, backed by the US military.
Asked whether the US government would change its stance on the YPG/PKK, Tillerson again did not answer, saying only that discussions continued with all coalition members, including Turkey, over how to find solutions for Syria. The two countries have been at odds over whether to include Kurdish forces that Turkey considers terrorists in the fight against IS extremists in Raqqa, Syria. The countries will discuss the matter further, he said, insisting each is committed to defeating IS.
Erdogan has been blunt about his opposition toward the US support for Kurdish fighters, whose separatist aims are shared by a militant Kurdish group that has been fighting for autonomy in Turkey's southeast for more than three decades.
The Turkish presence in Syria has added to the complexity of the war against ISIL and seen two crucial USA allies - Turkey and the YPG - fighting one another.
Turkey has been under a state of emergency since shortly after the coup attempt, and the government has mounted a massive purge of the military, police, judiciary and civil service - more than 130,000 people suspended, sacked or facing charges.
Cavusoglu said Washington accepted there was no difference between the YPG militia and the PKK.
"The Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish people expect from the USA the immediate extradition of Fethullah Gulen", Turkey's embassy to the us said in a statement earlier this week.
Though the US and Turkey share a goal of defeating IS in Iraq and Syria, the USA has been concerned that Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield is more focused on preventing Syrian Kurds from forming an autonomous region in northern Syria, along Turkey's border, that could embolden Turkey's own Kurdish minority.
Tillerson will met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu in Ankara, Efe news reported. Life is back to normal. Tillerson added that they support Turkey's successful counter-terrorism operations in the region. "Any operation following this one will have a different name", Yildirim said on Wednesday.
Tillerson was seen embarrassed as Foreign Minister Cavusoglu made a mention of the US-PYD-YPG collaboration.
He stressed that Turkey expects the United States to take concrete steps on the extradition of USA -based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulen, who is accused of masterminding the July 2016 failed coup attempt.
Cavusoglu said Turkey expects Washington to take concrete steps on Gulen's extradition, including his temporary detention.
But Cavusoglu said Turkey had provided plenty of evidence and that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had committed to "evaluate the documents meticulously".
But there was cause for tension on Wednesday after the USA detained a senior Turkish state bank executive.