Mar 02 2018

U.S. “stalling” Turkey in Syria says Erdoğan advisor

The United States is more interested in stalling Turkey in Syria than actually ending the rift between Ankara and Washington, one of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s top advisors in wrote in the Daily Sabah newspaper on Friday.

Following last month’s Ankara meeting between U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and top Turkish officials, Turkey expected the United States to make “some gestures to appease Ankara, or at least calm down growing Turkish anger,” Ilnur Çevik wrote. “But nothing of that kind has happened. On the contrary U.S. officials have acted as if nothing positive is in the offing. It has become apparent that the U.S. is more interested in stalling Turkey in Syria than actually ending the rift between Ankara and Washington,” he said.

Çevik also criticised U.S. calls that last week’s United Nations ceasefire resolution be implemented in Syria’s Afrin region, which has been under Turkish attack for more than a month. He said Turkish military action in Afrin was not covered by the ceasefire. “Even raising the Afrin issue simply shows bad faith on the part of the U.S., especially after all those high-level meetings.”

Washington fails to understand how determined Turkey is to reach its goals in Syria, said Çevik, adding that Turkey would turn its attentions to Manbij, once the Afrin operation is complete.

Manbij, a Syrian city to the east of Afrin is currently controlled by the same Kurdish groups Turkey is fighting in Afrin. In Manbij, unlike Afrin, U.S. troops are also present. But this will not deter the Turkish Army, said Çevik, adding that the U.S. attitude was making it difficult to avoid the prospect of clashes between U.S. and Turkish forces in Manbij.