Pence Meets Erdogan to Urge Halt to Turkey’s Syria Offensive

October 17, 2019 Updated: October 17, 2019

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence met President Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey on Thursday, Oct. 17, on a mission to persuade him to halt an offensive against Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria, but Turkish officials said the action would continue regardless.

Turkey launched the offensives after President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of American forces from Northern Syria.

Trump said he thought Pence and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan would have a successful meeting, but warned of sanctions and tariffs that “will be devastating to Turkey’s economy” otherwise.

Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not speak to reporters before the start of the meeting with Erdogan, but the official said they were likely to convey the same U.S. demands, adding, “However, negotiating with a terrorist organization or turning back from the ongoing operation are not on the agenda.”

On Monday, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow told CNBC that the United States was prepared to levy additional sanctions if necessary “to keep Turkey in line.”

A top aide to Erdogan, Ibrahim Kalin, said Turkey’s foreign ministry was preparing to retaliate for the sanctions by its NATO ally.

The Kurdish-led administration in the region said the Turkish offensive had killed 218 civilians, including 18 children, since it started a week ago. The fighting has also wounded more than 650 people, it said.

Turkish authorities say 20 people have been killed in Turkey by bombardment from Syria, including eight people who were killed in a mortar attack on the town of Nusaybin by YPG militants on Friday, according to the local governor’s office.

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