Turkish president said on Wednesday that he would meet with U.S. vice president and secretary of state, according to a Tweet by communications director.
“Earlier today, the President told @SkyNews that he won’t receive a U.S. delegation that is visiting Ankara today,” Fahrettin Altun said on Twitter, sharing a video of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks.
“It is out of question that I meet with others [in the U.S. delegation] except [Mike] Pence and [Mike] Pompeo,” Erdogan told reporters, following his address to parliament in the capital Ankara.
Pence will be in Turkey to hold talks with top officials regarding Ankara’s ongoing Operation Peace Spring in northeastern Syria, President Donald Trump said at the White House on Tuesday.
Trump added that Pence will be accompanied by Pompeo.
A U.S. delegation will leave on Tuesday ahead of the departure of the senior officials, according to the president.
The vice president’s office released a statement saying that Pence will be further accompanied by National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien, and Trump’s special envoy for the anti-Daesh coalition James Jeffrey.
Turkey on Oct. 9 launched Operation Peace Spring to eliminate terrorists from northern Syria in order to secure Turkey’s borders, aid in the safe return of Syrian refugees, and ensure Syria’s territorial integrity.
Ankara wants to clear east of the Euphrates River in northern Syria of the terrorist PKK and its Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG.
In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the European Union — has been responsible for deaths of 40,000 people, including women, children and infants.
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