Turkey official disputes Trump-Erdogan call readout

26 January, 2018, 01:32 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • Trump warns Erdogan not to bring U.S. and Turkish forces into conflict

Donald Trump on Wednesday chewed out Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a phone call, just days after Turkey bombed USA -backed Kurdish fighters in Syria.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos before Trump's arrival, Tom Bossert said Turkey "ought to be mindful of the potential for escalation as they move into Syria and Afrin".

Churches in the Syrian city of Afrin are pleading for help from the global community amid deadly attacks carried out by Turkish forces on Kurdish-controlled areas in the war-ravaged nation.

Ankara considers the YPG to be allies of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has fought against the Turkish state for decades.

Nato's chief has urged Turkey to limit its use of force in northern Syria where its troops are battling a Kurdish militia that has been a top U.S. ally in the fight against the Islamic State group.

Tillerson said the US recognizes Ankara's "legitimate right" to defend itself from terrorists, suggesting that a security zone could help stabilize the situation and meet Turkey's security concerns.

The situation became even less clear after US and Turkish officials offered differing accounts of a Wednesday phone call between US President Donald Trump and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Wednesday threatened to extend his country's military operation against Kurdish forces in Syria. "He urged Turkey to exercise caution and to avoid any actions that might risk conflict between Turkish and American forces". They said Trump did not voice concerns about the violence or use the phrase "destructive and false rhetoric coming from Turkey".

"[Trump] mentioned that open criticism of the United States raised concerns in Washington", according to the source.

Turkey's military intervention in the Syrian border town of Afrin against Kurdish militants is a grim reminder of the complexities of the seven-year-long Syrian civil war.

Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr. says "the degree to which focus is taken off the reason we're in Syria, which is to go after ISIS, is the degree to which it damages the overall effort". "We recognize that. And we're working with the Turks to try and minimize it".

In Washington, McKenzie said the US and Turkey were continuing talks about a "secure zone" but there had been no final decision.

On the sidelines of the assembly of foreign ministers' meeting, which was held in Paris on Tuesday, Cavusoglu met U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Turkey's foreign minister told reporters Thursday that Erdogan had asked Trump to withdraw U.S. troops from Manbij. He said there could be "grave consequences to any miscalculation and escalation".

Turkish government officials have said their goal is to establish a 20-mile buffer zone across its southern border with Syria, where the YPG controls large swaths of territory. But it was unclear whether it would sway Turkish decisions.

Kinik said countries such as Turkey, Jordan, Lebanon and Iraq, which have shouldered most of the humanitarian needs caused by the Syrian war since it began nearly seven years ago, deserved more support from the worldwide community. "Definitely I am optimistic because it is the only way to be at such moments", Staffan de Mistura said.

Russian Federation is hosting peace talks in the Black Sea resort of Sochi next week that some Syrian opposition figures said will run counter to United Nations peace initiatives.

The United States should "stop supporting terrorists" if it wants to avoid a possible confrontation with Turkey in Syria, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ said on January 25.

What's next: Given restrictions on free speech within Turkey, the media is expected to produce a unanimously positive image of the operation.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group that monitors the civil war, reported airstrikes in almost 20 villages.

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad has denounced the offensive, calling it "Turkish brutal aggression on the Syrian city of Afrin", according to the state-run Syrian Arab News Agency. They also "discussed the need to stabilize a unified Syria that poses no threats to its neighbours, including Turkey", the White House said.


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