US-Turkey Row Over Syria Kurds: Bolton Doesn’t Meet Erdogan
In an apparent response to disagreements between Ankara and Washington over the fate of Kurdish militants in Syria, US National Security Advisor John Bolton is set to leave Turkey on Tuesday afternoon without having met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Erdogan, speaking to parliament on Tuesday while Bolton , denounced remarks made by Bolton and other US officials expressing concerns for protection of their Kurdish allies as “unacceptable” and “seriously mistaken.”
Bolton and his Turkish counterpart, Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin cancelled a joint press conference following a meeting held between Bolton, Kalin, and several other high-ranking Turkish officials.
"It is not possible to accept or swallow the message given by Bolton from Israel," Erdogan told his party's lawmakers in parliament. Bolton said in Israel on Sunday that conditions such as guarantees on the safety of Kurdish allies must be met before American troops are withdrawn from Syria.
The president's icy remarks come shortly after Bolton arrived in the Turkish capital for Syria talks on Tuesday.
As both sides prepared for the talks in Ankara, Erdogan said Turkey was "the only country with the power and commitment" to stabilize Syria after the US pullout, in an opinion column published in the New York Times Tuesday.
"President Trump made the right call to withdraw from Syria," he added, outlining Turkey's "comprehensive strategy" to eliminate the causes of radicalization in the war-torn country.
Erdogan has previously promised Trump that Turkey could finish off the remnants of IS in Syria.
"A military victory against the terrorist group is a mere first step," he said in the New York Times, warning against premature declarations of victory.
There were tensions ahead of the talks after Bolton on Sunday cited conditions such as safety guarantees for Kurds before the US withdrawal.
Ankara immediately hit back at his "irrational" claim that Turkey would target Kurds.
After Bolton landed in Ankara late Monday, Trump said the fight against Daesh [Arabic Acronym for the terrorist “ISIS”/ “ISIL”] was not over and that the withdrawal would be done in a "prudent" manner.
"We will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight ISIS and doing all else that is prudent and necessary!" Trump tweeted.
Last month Erdogan threatened to launch a cross-border operation against the YPG, east of the Euphrates River, which he said later would be delayed after Trump's order.
Source: News Agencies, Edited by website team