U.S-Turkey ties to be evaluated during meeting with Pompeo, says Turkish FM
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu on Nov.17 said he is set to hold talks with his U.S. counterpart Mike Pompeo on Tuesday in Washington to evaluate strained relations between the NATO allies, left-wing Birgün newspaper reported.
Çavuşoğlu arrived in the United States on Friday to attend the 8th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) to take place in the UN headquarters of the next two days.
The visit by the Turkish foreign minister arrives amid heightened tensions over a string of issues such as the Syrian conflict, the U.S. block on F-35 sales to Turkey and Ankara’s purchase of Russian S-400 air defence systems.
"There were two subjects that tensed the relations. One of them is the U.S. support for YPG/PKK," the Turkish foreign minister said, adding that U.S. cooperation with the terror group was a "grave mistake".
Turkey sees the People’s Protection Units (YPG) as part of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has been fighting for self-rule inside Turkey for more than 30 years. The United States recognises the PKK as a terrorist organisation, however backs up the YPG fighters who make up the bulk of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that has pushed Islamic State (ISIS) out of most of northern Syria.
Çavuşoğlu said the second issue between the two countries is Washington’s failure to fulfill Turkey's request for extradition of the U.S.-based cleric Fethullah Gülen, who the Turkish government holds responsible for the July 15, 2016 coup attempt.
"This has been a serious cause of tension," Çavuşoğlu said, noting that Turkey is "one thousand percent” right on both issues.
Ankara has repeatedly called for the extradition of Gülen, who lives in the U.S. in self-imposed exile. The U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he was not considering extraditing Gülen following reports that Washington was weighing such a move as part of an effort to ease Turkey’s pressure on Saudi Arabia over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.