First Meeting to Mend US-Turkey Ties Ends #TurkeyUS
A meeting of the first of three technical committees of Turkey and the U.S. aimed at resolving issues between the two countries concluded Friday.
The meeting was “positive” and collaborative work will continue, diplomatic sources told Anadolu Agency, adding there was a sincere exchange of opinions between the delegates.
They added that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu will meet in the coming weeks.
The primary agenda of the committee on Syria was Turkey’s demand of clearing YPG/PKK terrorists from Manbij, which lies to the west of the Euphrates River in northern Syria.
The U.S. has supported the YPG/PKK under the name of SDF, which is considered by Ankara as the Syrian offshoot of the PKK terror organization that has waged a more than 30-year war against the Turkish state.
American support for the terror group has long vexed Ankara, as Washington views the SDF as a “reliable partner” in its fight against Daesh and continues to provide it with arms and equipment in the face of strong objections by Turkey.
The PKK has fought a 33-year war against Turkey that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths.
During Tillerson’s visit to Turkey from Feb. 15-16, three mechanisms were established between Ankara and Washington with a view to contributing to normalizing bilateral relations and overcoming issues related to Syria, the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and Iraq.
Nearly 20 U.S. officials, led by Acting Assistant Secretary Wess Mitchell, attended the meeting, according to State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert.
On the Turkish side, Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Onal has been presiding over the committee on Syria, Deputy Undersecretary Cihad Erginay on FETO and Fazli Corman, director general for South Asia at the Foreign Ministry, on Iraq.