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Jan 08 2019

Erdoğan’s top advisor says Bolton received taste of Turkish hospitality - updates

The Communications Director of the Turkish Presidency Fahrettin Altun commented on the departure of U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton from Ankara on Tuesday after he was told Turkey would make “no concession” in its push against Kurdish militia in northern Syria, saying he hoped the visiting American received the country’s  ‘’world famous hospitality.''

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan refused to meet with Bolton on Tuesday, citing a change in withdrawal plan by the U.S. administration.  The U.S. national security adviser met for roughly two hours with his Turkish counterpart Ibrahim Kalin and other senior officials at Ankara’s presidency complex, but received no assurances on the safety of Syrian Kurdish allies — a condition for Washington’s planned withdrawal of U.S. troops from northeastern Syria, Time magazine reported.

Bolton, over the weekend, said U.S. troops would not pull out of northeast Syria until Turkey had agreed not to attack Syrian Kurdish forces, namely the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which has formed the backbone of the U.S.war against Islamic State (ISIS) in the region.

Ankara designates the YPG as a terrorist state and has vowed to destroy it, citing the threat it poses to Turkey in the region and its aspirations to form a new state.

The Turkish president on Tuesday said officials within the U.S. administration may be trying to obstruct a "clear agreement" that he and U.S. President Donald Trump reached during a Dec. 14 telephone conversation, AP reported.

‘’Despite the fact that we reached a clear agreement with Mr. Trump, different voices have been raised from different echelons of the U.S. administration," Erdoğan said. 

Turkey’s strongman also said repeated on Tuesday that Ankara was prepared for a third military operation into neighbouring Syria, targeting the YPG and the offensive will take place ‘’very soon,’’ BBC Turkish said. 

AP reporter Zeke Miller, who was traveling with the U.S. delegation to Ankara and the region, tweeted remarks conveyed by an unnamed U.S. official. According to Miller, a U.S. official said that Bolton told Erdogan's spokesperson Kalin a recent op-ed penned by Erdogan was "wrong and offensive during the meeting. 

In the New York Times article published on Monday, Erdoğan argued that there is a Turkish peace plan for Syria and that Trump's decision to withdraw from Syria is the right decision. 

In another tweet, Miller said that "Bolton presented Kalin with what in diplomatic terms is called a “non-paper” that was agreed to by Pompeo, Shanahan, Dunford, Bolton and Jeffrey, which includes the statement: "The United States opposes any mistreatment of opposition forces who fought with us against ISIS."

Erdoğan, during his speech to his parliamentary group on Tuesday said Turkey would not take Bolton's remarks made in Israel, where he stressed that the U.S. withdrawal was conditional upon Turkey's promise to not attack the Syrian Kurdish forces. 

Meanwhile, according to a senior U.S. official, Kalin also said "Erdoğan committed that Turkey would not take offensive action [against Kurds] while U.S. forces were there."

Joyce Karam of the National pointed to Russia's advantage as tensions grow between Washinton and Ankara over Syria.

''Russia patrols in Manbij Syria are a big deal,'' Karam tweeted. ''Moscow once again, using US-Turkey quarreling, uncertainty in Trump position, tension in Kurdish-US relations to its advantage in a terrain it knows well.''