Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said it would not be right for Turkey and the United States to discuss a ” security zone” in Syria until trust issues between the countries is restored, according to the Hurriyet newspaper.
“We have experienced a loss of confidence. Until it is restored, until clear steps are taken to re-create it, I think it is wrong to discuss these topics (security zone). We do not know what their intentions are, but first we need to eliminate the atmosphere of distrust,” the newspaper Yeni Safak cites Cavusoglu.
Cavusoglu, discussed the situation in Syria with Tillerson on the phone, said he called for the end of the US support for the Kurdish People’s Protection Units. He said that the “United States does not want to face Turkey in the north of Syria” amid operation Olive Branch, according to the reports.
“Those who support the terrorist organisation will become a target in this battle,” he told broadcaster A Haber in an interview. “The United States needs to review its solders and elements giving support to terrorists on the ground in a way to avoid a confrontration with Turkey.”
The statement came in the wake of a report by Turkish NTV channel, saying that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the US Secretary State had proposed establishing a 30-kilometer security area in the north of Syria in order to avoid possible clashes between the US and Turkish militaries.
Speaking with Erdogan by phone, Donald Trump urged him to de-escalate the country’s military incursions in Syrian Afrin.
Mevlut Cavusoglu and Rex Tillerson held talks in Paris on Tuesday. The United States and Turkey have serious disagreements over the supply of the US weapons to Kurdish armed groups in Syria.
On January 20, Turkish Armed Forces launched an operation, called Olive Branch, against the Kurdish forces in Syria’s Afrin district. Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim announced last Sunday about the beginning of a ground operation in Afrin. Damascus strongly condemned Turkey’s actions in Afrin, reminding that it is part of Syria. Ankara stated that its operation seeks to ensure the security of its borders and “is targeting only terrorists”, according to Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu. The Turkish side said it had informed Damascus and Moscow, its co-guarantor in the Syrian peace process, of its operation, and has taken into account the position of Tehran, the third guarantor state.