Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu

Agreement on Manbij will open a new page for Turkey and the United States

The end of the implementation of the joint Turkish-American plan for Syrian Manbij will open a new page in the relations between Ankara and Washington. This meeting is scheduled for June 4 with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington, said Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, Anadolu agency reports.

“If, after the meeting with Pompeo, we made a decision to start the implementation of the Manbij plan, a new page will open in the relations between the two countries,” Çavuşoğlu said at a meeting organized by the Turkish-American National Coordinating Committee (TACC).

According to him, one of the key problems in Turkey’s relations with the US remains Washington’s support for the Kurdish “terrorist organizations” in Syria (Ankara considers the Kurd “YPG”) as a “Syrian offshoot” of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party banned in Turkey.

“Turkey seeks a political settlement in Syria and strongly opposes any steps aimed at dividing this country. In Astana, Sochi and Geneva, Turkey has demonstrated itself as one of the key players in the settlement process, “the head of Turkish diplomacy said.

Regarding the discussion in the US Congress about the possible cancellation of the supply of F-35 fighters to Turkey in response to the conclusion of the Turkish-Russian contract on S-400 surface-to-air missile systems, Cavusoglu said: “Between Ankara and Washington, there really is tension on the supply contract fighters of the fifth generation. However, do not forget that Turkey, even before the contract with Russia, discussed the topic of procurement of air defense systems with its ally – the US. Washington refused to sell them to us. Then we had to start negotiations with Russia. If the United States is ready to sell such systems to Turkey today, we are ready to buy them. ”

According to information from sources close to the Turkish Foreign Ministry, if today Cavusoglu and Pompeo reached the final agreement on Syrian Manbiju, the YPG militants will leave the area in the north of Syria within the framework of the road map developed by Ankara and Washington.

Meanwhile, according to sources of Anadolu in Turkish intelligence, the “commanders of the terrorists YPG” began to leave Manbij, going to the border with Turkey – Ainulab area to the west of the Euphrates, as well as the Ain-Issa region in the province of Rakka, located to the south-east of it.

The process, which will be launched after June 4, provides for joint monitoring of military and intelligence officers of Turkey and the United States in the areas near Manbij. Details of the monitoring mechanism will be developed by the parties on the basis of an analysis of the situation on the ground. The agreement also implies the creation of the Manbij administration from among the local residents right after the departure of the Kurdish detachments. The military council, which will ensure the security of the region, as well as the local administration, is planned to be formed in accordance with the ethnic composition of the region’s population, the Anatolia agency notes.

As reported by EADaily, the Turkish-American working group on Syria at the meeting held in Ankara on Friday, May 25, has developed the main points of the road map for cooperation in the field of security and stability in the Manbij region in the north-east of the province of Aleppo. “The Turkish-American working group on Syria held a meeting to continue the negotiations on Syria and other mutual interests. The Turkish Foreign Minister and US Secretary of State will meet on June 4 to discuss the recommendations of the working group,” – the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.

After the February visit of former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Ankara, a bilateral working group was established, the first meeting of which was held on March 8-9. The main topic of the second working meeting was the Syrian Manbij, and the final version of the text on this issue will be made public soon. The meeting of Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington has already occured, on June 4.

Recall, in a conversation with the TRT Haber TV channel on March 15, the press secretary of the Turkish president Ibrahim Kalyn said that Turkey and the US will create a “security zone” around the city of Manbij. According to the representative of the Turkish administration, the agreement reached earlier between Ankara and Washington on Manbiju is “binding”, and permutations in the US Department of State can not affect this agreement.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused US counterpart Donald Trump on February 6 that the United States does not fulfill the promise of the withdrawal of Syrian Kurdish detachments from the Manbij district. “(Barak) Obama deceived Turkey on the issue of Kurdish militants in Manbije. Unfortunately, Trump follows the same path, “the Turkish leader said.

According to Erdogan, Trump told him that the Kurds “can not stay there (in the region of Manbije) and will go to the east of the Euphrates.” “He acknowledged that the true masters of Manbij are the Arabs. But what he promised was not fulfilled,” – Erdogan said.

Finally, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo exchanged views on bilateral relations. They reaffirmed their commitment to continue combating terrorism in all its forms. They also discussed the recommendations of the Turkish-American working group on Syria regarding future cooperation in matters of mutual interest, which include steps to ensure security and stability in Manbij. They approved the road map and stressed their commitment to the implementation of its paragraphs, this reflects their agreement in the need to closely monitor developments on the ground, “the communique said.

Syrian Manbij for several years is the subject of a dispute between Ankara and Washington. Joseph Biden, when he was vice-president of the United States in 2016, promised that all the soldiers of the Kurdish formations of the “People’s Self-Defense Forces” that are members of the “Syrian Democratic Forces” coalition will leave this settlement and cross the eastern bank of the Euphrates River after the liberation of Manbij from the militants of the terrorist group “Islamic State” banned in Russia. In Turkey, they believe that the SNS detachments can take control of the multi-kilometer zone at the border of the two countries.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has several times stated that the operation “Olive Branch”, which Ankara conducts in the north of Syria, can spread to the city of Manbij, urged the US to withdraw its units from there. In early February, the official representative of the Turkish government, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdag, warned that the Armed Forces of Turkey could enter Manbij if SNA troops did not leave this city, and even American servicemen dressed in the uniform of Kurdish soldiers risked becoming a target.