By Safvan Allahverdi
Washington hopes to cooperate with Ankara to minimize threats against Turkey and fight Daesh, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Wednesday.
“We hope to have talks about how we can work cooperatively to lessen those threats to Turkey but ultimately achieve the objective in Syria,” Tillerson said at a joint press conference with Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi in Amman, Jordan.
Turkey is “an important NATO ally and partner in the region”, according to Tillerson, who said it faces threats within its border as well as from areas in Iraq and Syria.
He also noted Washington and Ankara are committed to the “same outcomes” in Syria, including the defeat of Daesh, the de-escalation of violence there and moving the Geneva peace talks forward.
The UN-backed international peace conference is aimed at ending the Syrian civil war by bringing together the Syrian government and opposition to discuss steps toward a transitional government.
“I think what will benefit Turkey the most will be a successful peace process in Geneva that stabilizes all of Syria,” he added.
But just a day earlier in Kuwait, Tillerson sounded a different tone when he said Turkey’s military operation to remove terror groups in Afrin is hampering the U.S.-led coalition’s efforts to maintain the focus on the fight against Daesh in Syria.
Turkey launched Operation Olive Branch on Jan. 20 to clear PYD/PKK and Daesh terrorists from Afrin in northwestern Syria.
The operation against the PKK/KCK/PYD-YPG and Daesh terror groups is being conducted within the framework of Turkey’s sovereign rights based on international law, UN Security Council resolutions and self-defense rights under the UN Charter.
Tillerson arrived in Amman late Tuesday as part of a wider Middle East tour that has already taken him to Egypt and Kuwait.
Following his departure from Jordan, he is scheduled to visit Lebanon and Turkey, where he will meet senior Turkish officials to discuss a range of bilateral and regional issues.