Tillerson Praises Turkey, Rebukes Russia During Foreign Trip
Turkey issues US ultimatum ahead of Tillerson visit
Turkish Foreign Minister demanded concrete steps to restore confidence between the countries
Ankara is stepping up pressure ahead of US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Turkey. The country’s foreign minister called on Washington to take concrete measures in response to Turkey’s concerns about America’s support for Kurdish forces in Syria, threatening that otherwise relations between the countries would be destroyed.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu issued an ultimatum to the United States, speaking on the sidelines of the Turkey-Africa conference in Istanbul on Monday.
According to him, relations between Turkey and the United States are at a critical point when they can either improve or stop completely. Cavusoglu said that Turkey needs not promises, but concrete steps to restore mutual trust, which he blamed the United States for.
The rift in relations between the two NATO allies stems from the fact that Washington supports the Kurdish People’s Self-Defense Forces in the fight against Islamic State militants in Syria. Ankara considers ONS a terrorist group linked to Kurdish separatists in Turkey.
Turkish troops entered the Kurdish-controlled Afrin region of Syria last month, despite repeated calls from Washington to stay out of the conflict..
Turkey has threatened to expand its operations and launch an offensive on the Syrian city of Manbij, where US troops are present along with the ONS. Washington criticized Ankara, saying the operation by Turkish forces in Syria undermines efforts to fight the Islamic State.
At the same time, Cavusoglu questioned Washington’s commitment to fighting the Islamists.
According to him, the United States does not attack IS militants in Syria in order to have an excuse to continue cooperation with the ONS.
US authorities have not yet responded to accusations from the Turkish minister.
On Sunday, the presidential national security adviser Herbert McMaster met in Istanbul with Turkish foreign policy adviser Ibrahim Kalin. Following the meeting, a statement was issued in which both sides expressed their commitment to a long-term strategic relationship.
However, analysts draw attention to the fact that the statement does not mention the settlement of differences between the two countries..
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who will arrive in Turkey this week as part of a Middle East tour, is expected to present his Turkish counterpart with a list of issues of concern to the US..