Turkey warns US to rectify ‘mistakes’ or ties would worsen

Turkey warns US to rectify ‘mistakes’ or ties would worsen

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (photo by AFP)
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (photo by AFP)

Turkey has warned the United States to make amends for its “mistakes” in bilateral ties with Ankara or the relations will sink further.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told state Anadolu agency on Wednesday that ties between Ankara and Washington had been hit the hardest by Washington’s refusal to extradite Fethullah Gulen — a US-based Turkish cleric wanted in Turkey — and its provision of arms to Syria-based Kurdish militants.

Turkey says the Pennsylvania-residing cleric is responsible for masterminding a failed July 2016 coup against the Turkish administration. Multiple pleas by Ankara for Gulen’s extradition have been turned down by Washington, which says it does not have enough evidence to warrant an extradition.

Ankara has also been infuriated by the US’s arms support for and training of Kurdish militants in Syria, who are seen by Turkey as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

The Kurds have refused to withdraw from most of the territory close to Turkey’s borders in Syria, which they have seized from the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh.

Turkey is wary of their presence there. It has staged an operation in northern Syria to push back against them.

Ankara has said the US promised it last year through Defense Secretary James Mattis to take back weapons from the Kurdish militants once the Takfiri group was routed.

Last November, however, The Jerusalem Post quoted the US military as telling the Israeli daily that the US “continues to provide material support, training, advice and assistance to the SDF in their ongoing effort to defeat ISIS (Daesh) in Syria,” referring to the grouping of militants largely comprised of Kurds.

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