White House: US Must Accept 'Political Reality' in Syria

Tense relations between the two allies stem from a USA decision to use Kurdish militias to help combat IS terrorists in Syria.

Speaking at a press conference following the bilateral talks with Tillerson, Cavusoglu said the relations between Turkey and the U.S. should be much stronger, APA reported citing the Turkish media.

Launched in late August past year, and carried out by the support of Free Syrian Army fighters, the operation aimed to improve security, support coalition forces and eliminate the terror threat along the Turkish border.

Tillerson, the most senior United States official to visit Turkey since President Donald Trump took office in January, is seeking to turn around recently rocky relations between the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies. In recent days the USA military airlifted hundreds of Syrian Kurdish forces along with US military advisers and artillery behind enemy lines as preparations for the Raqqa offensive ramp up.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met the wife of a jailed American pastor during his visit to Ankara.

Tillerson paid tribute to Turkey's hosting of 3 million refugees and said his talks focused on efforts to allow their return.

"I think the. longer-term status of President Assad will be decided by the Syrian people", Tillerson told reporters.

Ankara's view on zones of stabilization is not dissimilar to its demand for safe havens.

"Today's conversations built on three mutual long-term goals: working together to defeat Daesh/ISIS; building stability in the region; and bolstering economic ties between our two nations", said Tillerson during a joint press conference with his Turkish counterpart, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

Turkey launched Euphrates Shield last August, with troops, tanks, and warplanes backing Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebels battling to push IS extremists away from the Turkish border region.

Cavusoglu described the arrest of the banker as a "political" move and said the USA attorney who launched the case against Zarrab had close ties with Gulen's supporters.

Cavusoglu told the press that the USA attorney who launched the case against Zarrab had close ties with Gulen supporters. Brunson has been charged with membership to the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ), the network of USA -based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen who is accused of masterminding the July 2016 failed coup attempt. Washington insists the issues are a matter for the courts.

According to Turkish sources, Tillerson also had discussions on Iran, Syria, Iraq, trade and investment, and he offered condolences to the Turkish loss of life to terrorism and appreciation for their work to defeat IS.

Cavusoglu, too, was eager to look to the future.

On Wednesday, Turkish news media reported that a telephone call had been made from the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul to one of the top suspects in last summer's failed military coup - an incendiary allegation ahead of Tillerson's visit.

Turkey's relations with the European Union are badly strained, with Erdogan comparing Germans and other Europeans to "Nazis and Fascists" after Turkish political events in several European cities were canceled.

  • Leroy Wright