Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Sky News that he would not meet with a U.S. delegation visiting Ankara, that delegation members would only be talking with their counterparts. Erdogan said he would only meet with President Trump.
Vice President Mike Pence said on Oct. 14 that he was dispatched to the Middle East by President Donald Trump. Pence will lead a U.S. delegation to Turkey to meet with the Turkish leader. The delegation includes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser Robert O’Brien who will depart on Oct. 16 to Ankara hoping to negotiate a resolution to the recent conflict in Syria.
However Erdogan’s communications director Fahrettin Altun tweeted later that the Turkey’s President plans to meet the U.S. delegation led by Pence and confirmed that in the statement to the Turkish press.
Turkey launched an offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria on Oct. 9 as U.S. Troops withdrew from Syria.
The United States announced on Sunday it was withdrawing its entire force of 1,000 troops from northern Syria. Its former Kurdish allies immediately formed a new alliance with the Russia-backed government of Syria under President Bashar Assad, inviting the army into towns across their territory.
President Donald Trump on Monday signed an executive order to place sanctions and visa bans on the Turkish government following Ankara’s offensive into northern Syria.
According to Euro News Erdogan told reporters that he did not consider it negative for Syria to move into the northern Syrian town of Manbij if Kurdish fighters were cleared in that area.
According to AP Russia already has announced it had deployed troops outside the flashpoint town of Manbij to keep apart the Syrian military and Turkish-led forces. Syrian forces took control as U.S. troops completed their pullout from the town Tuesday. The Syrian and Russian deployments appear to have thwarted Turkey’s hopes to capture the town.
Wall Street Journal reported that Erdogan said he would only agree to a ceasefire if Kurdish fighters surrender and leave the part of the Syrian territory controlled by Turkey.
Erdogan and Trump plan to meet in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 13, however Erdogan said on Oct. 16 to reporters in parliament that he will re-evaluate whether to go ahead with the visit due to “arguments, debates, conversations being held in Congress regarding my person, my family and my minister friends are a very big disrespect” to the Turkish government, according to Reuters.
Russia offered Wednesday to mediate a resolution in northern Syria, further asserting Moscow’s role as a regional force, ahead of a mission by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
Russia’s president Vladimir Putin spoke with Erdogan about Syria by phone and invited him to visit Russia in the next few days, according to Reuters.
As reported by Euro News Erdogan said on Tuesday that he told Putin in a phone call that Turkey’s invasion of northeastern Syria would “contribute to counter-terrorism efforts, Syria’s territorial integrity, and a political solution process.”
The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.