Turkey says it wants the United States to take back the weapons it has given to the Syrian-based Kurdish militia, which Ankara sees as a threat to its security, and will discuss the matter with US officials at an upcoming meeting.
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hami Aksoy told a press conference in Ankara on Tuesday that Turkey would notify US authorities during a meeting on March 8-9 that they expected Washington to take concrete steps to retrieve weapons has been granted to the Kurdish People Protection Unit (YPG).
Aksoy also said that Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu was scheduled to visit Russia between March 12-14, and then meet with US counterpart Rex Tillerson in Washington on March 19.
Regarded by Ankara as a terrorist organization and a banned branch of the prohibited Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), YPG constitutes the largest part of what Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), a US-backed militant group.
Ankara has launched an operation called Operation Olive Branch against Kurds in the Afrin region of Syria since January 20 in an attempt to abolish YPG. The Turkish side said the attack could continue into Manbij and surrounding areas.
The attack comes after the United States says it will set up a 30,000-strong border force on the door of Turkey.
Turkey is wary of the presence of the Kurdish Communist militia near its border in Syria, and has opposed Washington’s efforts to train and equip them in the Arab world.
Earlier this month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused US President Donald Trump and his predecessor Barack Obama failed to reveal the truth about US support for YPG.
Erdogan had earlier said YPG was trying to build a “terror corridor” on the southern border of Turkey, linking the northern African town of Africa to the Kurdish-controlled territory in the east.
Senior officials in Ankara have warned Washington that there may be a confrontation between Turkish and American troops in northern Syria if the transfer of weapons to the Kurds is not stopped.