Turkey cannot handle a new wave of migrants from northern Syria, President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, adding that Ankara and Washington needed to establish a "safe zone" in the region as soon as possible.
Speaking at a lunch with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Tuesday, Erdogan said it expected the U.S. to support Turkey.
"Our expectation from the United States is to stand with us in our fight against terror and our efforts to establish safe zones where the refugees can return to," Erdogan said, adding Ankara "greatly valued" its cooperation with Washington in Syria.
"Sending 50,000 trucks of equipment and ammunition to the terrorists so far has really bothered us. Against who are these (weapons) used? Against Turkey. It is not possible for us to accept this as a strategic partner," he said.
eyes Erdoğan, Trump meeting to reach $100bln trade goal
Washington should lift the barriers in order to reach a goal of $100 billion in trade with Turkey, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said at a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Tuesday."We hope that investment and trade between the two countries will be the main discussion topic at the Erdoğan and Trump meeting," she added.Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and U.S. President Donald Trump will meet during the United Nations General Assembly later this month in New York.Pekcan also said the two sides prioritized various sectors such as textile, furniture, marble, automotive, civil aviation, cement, and chemicals to increase bilateral trade volume.She reiterated the importance of mutually removing obstacles to achieve trade target."We mentioned the barriers in sectors such as iron and steel, the results of our removal from the Generalized Preferences System [GSP], and possible measures to be implemented in automobile sector," she said, adding: "We have passed our demands and suggestions to the U.S. side."Turkish firms have advantages for US companies: commerce secretaryTurkey, US aim to achieve trade target in balanced wayTurkey and the U.S. expect to achieve $100 billion of mutual trade target in a balanced way, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said."What we anticipate it to consist of with the $50 billion more from the U.S. side to Turkey and $50 billion more from the Turkish side to U.S.," Ross added.Highlighting that the target was many times of its current level, Ross said: "So we are anticipating that it would be very balanced and greatly enlarged amount of trade."Ross said although the numbers sound very large, it is relatively small compared to the total trade volume of the U.S.Ross noted that the real focus of his 5 day-visit to Turkey was to have immediate delivery of goals that are "tangible, concrete and substantial first steps" which subject to the approval of the U.S. and Turkish presidents that would be announced in connection with the UN ceremonies in New York around Sept. 25.Washington and Ankara have set an ambitious goal of quadrupling their trade to $100 billion a year, despite the prospect of U.S. sanctions over Turkey's recent purchase of Russian missile defence systems.After arriving in Turkey on Sept. 6, Ross has met with several business associations in the financial hub Istanbul such as the Foreign Economic Relations Board and the Turkish Industry and Business Association.In 2018 Turkish-U.S. trade was around $20.6 billion -- including $8.3 billion in exports from Turkey -- according to TurkStat, the Turkish Statistical Institute.
Turkish FM says US is displaying a pro-PKK attitude in Syria
The U.S. is trying to stall the implementation of the safe zone in northern Syria, Turkey's foreign minister said Tuesday, adding that its approach is "unsatisfactory.""The U.S. is only taking cosmetic steps as part of the safe zone agreement," Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu told reporters at a news conference in Ankara.On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center.The agreement also envisaged setting up necessary security measures to address Turkey's security concerns, including clearing the zone of the terrorist YPG/PKK, a group the U.S. has sometimes been allied with, over Turkey’s objections."The U.S. did not keep its promise in northern Syria due to its engagement with PKK/YPG terror group," Çavuşoğlu added."As the President [Erdoğan] said, it is far from satisfactory, and furthermore they are displaying an attitude that is pro-PKK."
Air strikes hit Syria ceasefire zone
Air strikes hit a part of northwest Syria for the first time since a ceasefire was declared 10 days ago, a war monitor and opposition group spokesman said on Tuesday.Syrian government forces and their Russian allies unilaterally agreed a truce on Aug. 31 in opposition-controlled Idlib, where a "de-escalation zone" was brokered two years ago.Since Aug. 31 the intense air strikes by Russian and Syrian warplanes that had accompanied a Syrian government push to re-take the area have stopped, although there has been ground fighting and shelling.The United States said its forces had carried out strikes against an al-Qaeda facility in Idlib on the day the ceasefire came into effect.The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor, based in Britain, said planes had carried out two raids on in the strategic Jabal al-Akrad mountain range near the western Latakia coast.It is not clear if these raids signal a return to the Russian and Syrian campaign of heavy air strikes.Mohammad Rashid, spokesman for the Jaish al-Nasr opposition faction, said the two raids, which he said had been carried out by Russian planes, were the first since the ceasefire began.The truce was the second declared in August in Idlib, the only major swathe of the country still in opposition fighters' hands after more than eight years of war. A ceasefire in early August collapsed three days in, after which the Russian-backed army pressed its offensive and gained ground.Idlib province houses millions of people who have fled war elsewhere in Syria. Hundreds of civilians have been killed since an offensive to take the area began in April.
Turkey and the United States have been at loggerheads over a host of issues in recent months, including Ankara's purchase of Russian defence systems would could spark U.S. sanctions.
Turkey has so far relied heavily on Erdogan's personal ties with U.S. President Donald Trump to resolve issues. Erdogan and Trump are due to meet on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly later this month to discuss developments in Syria, trade and other bilateral issues.
The NATO allies have agreed to establish a safe zone in northeast Syria along Turkey's southern border, and to clear the area of YPG terrorists. On Sunday, Turkish and U.S. troops carried out their first joint military land patrol in the region.