"We gave U.S. one more chance" - Turkish foreign minister
Unless Turkey and the U.S. find a way to normalise relations, bilateral ties will grow even worse, Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said on Sunday.
"Our relations with the U.S. have been going through a critical period. Either we are going to normalise relations, put them back on track, or they will get even worse,” said Çavuşoğlu, speaking to journalists during his official visit to Amman, Jordan.
'US must keep its promises' Çavuşoğlu said stressing that the normalisation of ties between NATO allies depends on the U.S. keeping its promises. “You can say that we gave the U.S. another chance to bilateral relations, one more chance,” he said, "the U.S. needs to take advantage of this chance. We are determined. We are committed to (moving our forces) to Manbij. "
Çavuşoğlu said that Turkish and American officials would hold their first working group meeting in the first half of March under the new mechanism.
“Let’s see how they’re going to deliver,” he said, warning that if they do not deliver, “then we have to deal with that.”
Turkish foreign minister said that U.S. and Turkish officials agreed to establish two mechanisms, to address issues of disagreement between the countries during U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Ankara last week. The first mechanism, Çavuşoğlu said is regarding Turkish side's demands about a U.S.-based cleric, Fethullah Gülen, who Turkey accuses of orchestrating the coup attempt in July 2016. The second mechanism is concerning Syria, "how they are going to meet our concerns, how the YPG is going to leave Manbij, and how we coordinate this together, and how those [Syrian] towns and cities are going to be governed, by whom, and who is going to ensure the security of these cities and towns,” Çavuşoğlu said.
Relations between the two countries allies have been tense over U.S. support for the Kurdish militia, PYD in northern Syria. The U.S. has been working with the group that in the fight against ISIS, despite strong Turkish objections.
On Jan. 20, Turkey launched a military action, nick-named Operation Olive Branch, aiming to remove terrorist groups, including PYD from northwestern Syria.