Erdogan Slams Bolton, Ignores US Calls to Protect Kurdish Safety

09 January, 2019, 07:55 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • US President Donald Trump speaks to the media as he arrives at the White House in Washington DC

"It's not possible for us to accept, to swallow the message John Bolton gave from Israel", he said. While visiting Israel he said defending Israel and other allies who fought against ISIS is absolutely guaranteed and he wanted assurances from Turkey that they would not harm the Kurds.

'John Bolton has made a grave mistake on this issue, ' Erdogan told his party's lawmakers in parliament.

His statement seemed to echo comments made by White House National Security Adviser John Bolton, which were made over the weekend while in neighboring Israel. The Kurds who have fought alongside U.S. forces against the Islamic State group and fear an assault by Turkey if the USA withdraws, were still asking publicly for an explanation from Washington. Bolton met with Turkish officials for two hours in tough talks over arrangements for the pending U.S. troop withdrawal from Syria and future United States involvement there.

Bolton presented Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin with a document restating Trump's intention to withdraw U.S. forces but also insisting on protection for Kurdish fighters, said according to a person briefed by a senior administration official who attended the session, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Aaron Stein, the Middle East director at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia, said the tensions over the administration's Syria policy were largely the result of Trump's staff ignoring "the intent of the President".

"The claims that Turkey targets Kurds in Syria are dishonorable, ugly, vulgar and defaming", Erdogan said. Erdogan said it's a lie that Turkey would target the Kurds in Syria but said preparations were almost complete for fighting what he called "Kurdish terror groups". National Security Council spokesman said the two sides had a "productive discussion". And Erdoğan isn't the only one that's upset over the Trump administration's blurred stance. Officials said at the time that although many details of the withdrawal had not yet been finalized, they expected American forces to be out by mid-January.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and US National Security Advisor John Bolton shake hands during a joint statement to the media follow their meeting in Jerusalem
Two British special forces soldiers seriously injured in missile attack by so-called Islamic State in Syria

Fighting continues however, with Syrian Observatory for Human Rights saying IS suicide attackers had hit the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in eastern Syria late on Sunday, killing 23 of its fighters.

Bolton's delegation stressed that Washington was seeking a negotiated solution to Turkey's concerns and would cooperate with Ankara on deconflicting airspace over north-east Syria.

'We will be leaving at a proper pace while at the same time continuing to fight ISIS and doing all else that is prudent and necessary!' he tweeted.

While Sanders said last month the administration had "started returning United States troops home", the Pentagon said Monday no U.S. troops have withdrawn from Syria yet, but added that there is an "approved framework" for withdrawal.

He reportedly refused to meet with Bolton, who left Ankara after he was denied the sitdown, the pro-government English-language newspaper Daily Sabah reported.

"And they certainly were expecting an end to the US-Kurdish partnership in Syria, but Bolton's statement suggests that might not be the case".

More news: UK's Heathrow Airport suspends flights after drone sighting

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