President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that Turkey can easily clear northern Syria’s Manbij city of Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) fighters if the United States fails to do so, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.
“Turkey is ready to “eliminate terrorists in Syria’s Manbij if the US is facing difficulties,” Çavuşoğlu told reporters following his meeting with Pompeo in Ankara.
Pompeo met with Erdoğan at Ankara’s Esenboğa Airport on Wednesday.
“We have discussed the issue of [Jamal] Khashoggi and Manbij. It was a fruitful discussion. We exchanged views on many issues including the fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party [PKK],” Çavuşoğlu told reporters.
“We have reached a consensus that there is no longer any place for sanctions in our bilateral relations,” he noted.
The US side also acknowledged that the agreement with Turkey to clear Manbij of the YPG had been delayed, the minister said.
Çavuşoğlu and Pompeo brokered a deal on June 4 that called for the withdrawal of the YPG, the Syrian offshoot of the terrorist PKK, from Manbij and joint control of the city by Turkish and American troops. The process was to be completed by Sept. 4, but Turkish and US troops have not yet begun joint patrols due to a delay in training of Turkish troops for the mission.