Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has promised to turn over a “new page” in US-Turkish relations by talking with President Donald Trump, and called on Trump’s advisers to support his “positive approach.”
Critics accused Trump of giving Erdogan a green light to launch a military operation against Kurdish militias (YPG) in northern Syria by withdrawing American troops from the region last week. Ankara claimed it was targeting “terrorists.”
In the wake of international condemnation and threats by the US leader to “destroy the Turkish economy,” Erdogan called a halt to the anti-Kurdish offensive on Thursday.
“My counterpart is Trump. Just as we hold necessary talks on the phone, we will also hold face-to-face meetings that will turn a new page in Turkish-US ties, a new milestone,” he said on Friday.
Trump’s circle supporting his positive approach will make our work easier.
Though he initially vowed he would “never stop this fight, no matter what anyone says,” Erdogan has backed off somewhat in recent days. With the incursion paused for 120 hours starting Thursday, the Turkish leader has signaled his willingness to negotiate with Washington, and will involve Russian President Vladimir Putin in discussions.
Turkey has, however, refused to call the halt in operations a “ceasefire,” and demanded that the Kurds withdraw from the planned 32-kilometer deep ‘safe zone’ along the Turkish border over the cessation of hostilities. Should that not be the case, Erdogan promised to go on with the offensive.
After the deal was announced, Trump thanked Erdogan for backing off, and credited his own “tough love” negotiating with securing the halt. He also announced that no more sanctions on Turkey will be needed. Notably, in a letter released earlier in the week, the US president urged his Turkish counterpart not to be “a fool” and stop the offensive dubbed ‘Peace Spring’.
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