Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday agreed to meet his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump in a visit to Washington this November.
In a telephone conversation, Erdogan and Trump exchanged views on bilateral issues as well as the planned safe zone east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria, according to a statement from Turkey’s Directorate of Communications.
Erdogan stressed that forming a safe zone is essential for eliminating the PKK-YPG terror threat and the safe return of Syrian refugees to their country.
Turkish officials have previously said some 2-3 million Syrians who fled the war could be resettled in such a safe zone.
Turkey is determined to continue the fight against the terrorist group Daesh terror in Syria and take all necessary measures to prevent the recurrence of such problems in the region, said Erdogan.
Erdogan also expressed unease over U.S. military and security officials failing to meet the requirements of the safe zone agreement between the two countries.
On Aug. 7, Turkish and U.S. military officials agreed to set up a safe zone in northern Syria and develop a peace corridor to facilitate the movement of displaced Syrians who want to return home. They also agreed to establish a joint operations center.
The agreement also included setting up necessary security measures to address Turkey’s security concerns, including clearing the zone of the terrorist YPG/PKK, a group the U.S. has sometimes been allied with.
Turkish officials have complained of U.S. stalling on properly setting up the safe zone, saying that if this continues, Turkey could establish the zone single-handedly, and also could launch a counter-terrorist military operation in the region.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women, children and infants. The YPG is the Syrian branch of the terrorist PKK.
* Writing by Jeyhun Aliyev