Istanbul – President Recep Erdogan on Tuesday said the U.S. has failed to fulfill an agreement to remove Syrian Kurdish militias from a border zone with Turkey.
Speaking in Ankara, Erdogan acknowledged tensions between the two NATO allies.
“We are making this visit at a period when Turkish-American relations are going through a painful process.’’
Among other tensions between Ankara and Washington are Turkey’s purchases of a Russian advanced air defence system.
Also, Turkish demands for the repatriation of Fethullah Gulen, a U.S.-based Islamic cleric whom Ankara blames for a 2016 coup attempt by a faction in the military.
Erdogan said in spite the bad climate, he agrees with President Trump on the point of resolving problems and improving ties.
Turkey ceased an assault on the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), after two ceasefire deals, first with the U.S., and then with Russia, both designed to allow the YPG to evacuate the area within 30 kilometres of the Turkish border.
The Syrian Kurdish fighters, which have been critical in a U.S.-led campaign to defeat Islamic State extremists, have been another source of tension between Ankara and Washington.
Erdogan said it is unfortunately impossible to say terrorist groups have left the area from along Turkish borders, referring to the YPG.
“Neither Russia nor America has been able to cleanse these terror groups from this area on the hours or days they promised.
“We want to start a new era on issues regarding the security of both countries.’’