Tillerson in Turkey visit as Erdoğan says U.S. must leave Syria
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster will visit Turkey’s capital Ankara to help defuse growing political and military tensions over Syria.
Tillerson and McMaster will meet with their Turkish counterparts during the visit, Turkey’s government-run Anadolu agency said, citing a diplomatic source who asked not to be identified due to restrictions on talking to the press. They are expected to arrive next week, separately, the source said.
The visit comes amid increasing tensions between the two NATO allies over Syria. Turkey has launched a military incursion into northern Syria, accusing the United States of supporting Kurdish terrorists with arms and training. Washington says it is backing the People’s Protection Units (PYD) and other members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) to help defeat the Islamic State (ISIS) and ensure stability in Syria’s north.
State Department sources did not confirm Tillerson's reported visit to Ankara to Ahval and stated "Nothing to announce at this time."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday repeated a call for U.S. forces to vacate the Syrian enclave of Manbij, where they are training SDF fighters, and said Washington was working against the interests of Turkey, Iran and Russia in the country.
Turkey doesn’t believe the United States is only sending weapons into Syria to deal with ISIS, but has other motives, he said in a speech to members of his ruling party in Ankara.