Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar announced the approval of the United States to prevent the implementation of the “roadmap” for the Syrian city of Manbej and to complete it as soon as possible.
Akar met in his visit with the Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan, in Washington, on Friday.
The Akar said he met with Pentagon officials, accompanied by his accompanying delegation, including Chief of Staff General Yashar Guler and Ankara’s Ambassador to Washington Sardar Kilic, welcoming the good hosting of the American side.
The meeting dealt mainly with the fight against terrorism and reiterated Turkey’s commitment to the fight against all terrorist organizations, particularly the Kurdish groups of PKK/PYD and the Islamic State, along with the movement of Fathullah Gulen, according to the Turkish defense minister.
“We’ve seen that the American side is also positive about our actions on this issue”, Akar said.
He said that “the Americans agreed not to delay the road map of Manbej, and to complete it as soon as possible, and said they would study it”.
He explained that the Turkish delegation stressed the need to evacuate Manbej of terrorists, as he referring to the Kurdish people’s protection unites as soon as possible, and the withdrawal weapons from them, and hand over the administration of the city to its people.
Akar also pointed out that the Turkish side also raised the question of handing over the leader of the “terrorist organization” of Fathullah Gulen who is resident in the United States, and the rest of its group members.
“We’ll continue to follow this issue closely in the coming days”, Akar said.
Also the Turkish defense minister had exchanged views with Pentagon officials on US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria.
He stressed that he shouldn’t leave a vacuum in power during the withdrawal of US forces, in any way.
Trump announced on December 19, 2018, his decision to withdraw his troops from Syria, but without setting a timetable, while he announced on Friday evening, that he decided to keep 400 soldiers, considering that this doesn’t change the previous announcement.
Akar said that the meeting also discussed the issue of the safe area in Syria, and that the Turkish side assured his American counterpart that what Turkey categorized them as terrorist groups such as Kurdish PYD/PKK and other Kurdish forces in the US backed SDF should be withdrawn from the region and placed under the supervision of Turkey.
He also stressed the need to ensure that the Syrians hosted by Turkey, Kurds, Arabs, Assyrians and Chaldeans, return to their lands and homes as soon as possible.
Commenting on the telephone conversation between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and US president Donald Trump, Akar said he saw the positive impact of some of the points of understanding reached during the conversation.
During the visit, the Turkish delegation noted that US officials, who are strategic partners, take into account Turkey’s security concerns.
On the other hand, Akar said that the Turkish delegation also discussed with the US side issues related to the F-35, the Russian S-400 missile systems and the possible purchase of new US Patriot missiles defense system.
In this regard, Turkey will continue to work on these issues, and the Turkish delegation agreed with US officials to make efforts to solve the problems in this regard between the two countries.
“We’ll continue to exchange views, and we’ll seek, to the extent possible, to achieve some developments on these issues in the coming days”, Akar said.
He also stressed that Turkey targets terrorists only and has no problems at all with its Kurdish and Arab brothers and other ethnic and religious groups in Syria.
“Our only target is fighting the terrorists”, he said.
“Some people describe the PKK as Kurds”, he said.
“This is very wrong”.
He stressed that the PKK/YBK, PYD terrorists doesn’t represent the Kurds, just as it doesn’t represent the Muslims”, noting that “these groups are single terrorist organization that represent their own personal terroristic agendas”.