The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu revealed on Thursday the most important issue touched upon in the meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his American counterpart Donald Trump regarding the situation in Syria.
Speaking to Turkish media, Cavusoglu said he wanted Brett McGurk, the American envoy in the international coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS), to be removed, saying that he clearly supports the Kurdish YPG and PKK. “It would be beneficial if this person is changed,” Cavusoglu said.
The minister said that Turkey and the U.S. were able to reach initial understanding around the issues where the countries’ views differed, adding that both countries were the two most active partners in the international coalition against ISIS and that Washington wanted to cooperate with Ankara against the group in Raqqa.
Cavusoglu continued: “The United States wants to cooperate with us to carry out this campaign, but we have specific conditions for participating in it, which include the need to coordinate and cooperate with the correct groups and to prepare useful strategies to carry out this operation, in addition to planning for Syria’s future after clearing it of ISIS.”
The Turkish minister added: “We have informed the Americans about our regret that Turkey’s recommendations were not heeded in 2012 regarding the Syrian crisis, and we have stressed to them that Turkey will not participate in any military operation if there are elements of the terrorist YPG [People’s Protection Units].”
Cavusoglu did not respond to Erdogan’s earlier statements in which he said that Ankara would bomb any Kurdish militia positions within the rules of engagement if they were threatened by them, even if in the presence of U.S. personnel.
The American administration told Turkey that it will not allow it to be threatened by any party, including the Kurdish Syrian Democratic Party (PYD), and that the weapons provided to the Kurdish militia fighters will only be used to remove the ISIS from Raqqa.
Cavusoglu continued: “We have informed the Americans that members of the PYD have not left Manbij and Tal Abyad, despite the fact that the majority of the population of these two cities is Arab. In fact, they have expelled the original residents. We told them that this group does not want the liberation of Raqqa from ISIS, but is working to expand the areas of its control to establish their alleged state.”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.