19 December 2018

Turkish FM to discuss Manbij roadmap with US' Pompeo

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Visiting the U.S. secretary of state in Washington early next month, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Thursday that the two will discuss a roadmap for northern Manbij, Syria. informs citing AA.

Speaking to Turkish broadcaster TRT, Mevlut Cavusoglu said the working groups established between Turkey and the U.S. are continuing.

On Manbij, Cavusoglu said: "We had a preliminary agreement on this, but due to the change in secretary of state in the U.S. the approval didn’t happen."

Mike Pompeo recently succeeded Rex Tillerson as the top U.S. diplomat.

Manbij has caused friction in Turkish-U.S. ties, with Turkey rejecting the U.S. working with the terrorist YPG/PKK, demanding the group’s withdrawal.

Cavusoglu expressed willingness to approve the preliminary agreement and implement the Manbij roadmap following the June 4 Washington meeting, saying: "Withdrawal of the YPG from Manbij is especially important here. However, the YPG's withdrawal from Manbij alone is not enough. The stabilization of all regions under YPG control is also important."

"Who will secure and administer these regions? Of course, in the future, when a political solution [in Syria] is possible, these must be integrated to the central administration," he explained.

Cavusoglu also said an agreement on Manbij is not only important for relations between Turkey and the US but also the future of Syria.

He also reasserted the necessity of revitalizing the Geneva Process, stating that the Bashar Assad regime "does not want to meet with the opposition or anyone else regarding any matter."

US trial of Turkish banker

Turning to Wednesday’s prison sentencing in the U.S. of former Halkbank Deputy CEO Mehmet Hakan Atilla, Cavusoglu said: "A FETO-motivated case was opened in New York via an indictment prepared by FETO,” referring to the Fetullah Terrorist Organization, which in July 2016 organized a quickly defeated coup bid in Turkey.

“Why did the jury have a hard time reaching a decision? Who pressured them? Because there is no evidence... [The case] is completely politically motivated."

In January a New York jury found Hakan Atilla, a former deputy CEO of Turkey's public lender Halkbank, guilty on five counts related to conspiracy and bank fraud -- including alleged Iran sanctions violations -- but acquitted him of a money laundering charge.

On Wednesday Atilla was sentenced to 32 months in prison, minus time served.

Turkey has criticized the conviction as a political conspiracy lacking any real evidence and pushed by members and sympathizers of FETO.

The July 15, 2016 FETO-organized coup bid left 250 people martyred and nearly 2,200 injured.

Ankara accuses FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary, as well as having a large network of influence and intimidation abroad.

Cavusoglu said the U.S.’ "patronizing attitude" has led to a "serious loss of prestige" on the international stage.

2018.05.17 / 17:30
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