Erdogan says US failed to implement Syria ceasefire deal
Istanbul (dpa) – The US has failed to fulfil an agreement last month to remove Syrian Kurdish militias from a border zone with Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday.
Speaking in Ankara before flying to Washington where he plans to meet US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Erdogan acknowledged tensions between the two NATO allies.
“We are making this visit at a period when Turkish-American relations are going through a painful process,” Erdogan said.
Among other tensions between Ankara and Washington are Turkey’s purchase of a Russian advanced air defence system as well as Turkish demands for the repatriation of Fethullah Gulen, a US-based Islamic cleric whom Ankara blames for a 2016 coup attempt by a faction in the military.
“Despite the bad climate in our relations, we agree with President Trump on the point of resolving problems and improving our ties.”
Turkey ceased an assault on the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), after two ceasefire deals, first with the United States, then with Russia, both designed to allow the YPG to evacuate the area within 30 kilometres of the Turkish border.
The Syrian Kurdish fighters, which have been critical in a US-led campaign to defeat Islamic State extremists, have been another source of tension between Ankara and Washington.
It is “unfortunately impossible” to say “terrorist groups” have left the area from along Turkish borders, Erdogan said, referring to the YPG.
“Neither Russia nor America have been able to cleanse these terror groups from this area on the hours or days they promised,” Erdogan said.
“We want to start a new era on issues regarding the security of both countries.”
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