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U.S. failed to implement Syria ceasefire deal, Erdoğan says

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday before departing for Washington, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that YPG militants failed to vacate areas along the Turkish border despite agreements with Russia and the United States, and adding that he would raise the issue with his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump.

Agencies and A News WORLD
Published November 12,2019

The US has failed to fulfil an agreement last month to remove YPG militants from a border zone with Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on Tuesday.

Speaking in Ankara before flying to Washington where he plans to meet US President Donald Trump on Wednesday, Erdoğan acknowledged tensions between the two NATO allies.

@We are making this visit at a period when Turkish-American relations are going through a painful process," Erdoğan said.

Turkish leader also said he would also give Trump documents listing terror attacks allegedly carried out by Mazloum Abdi, the commander of the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish-led force. Turkey wants U.S. officials to arrest Abdi.

Among other tensions between Ankara and Washington are Turkey's purchase of a Russian advanced air defence system as well as Turkish demands for the repatriation of FETO ringleader Fethullah Gulen, who is the mastermind of the bloody July 15 coup attempt.

The Turkish president said the fight against Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) will be the top agenda item during his meeting with the U.S. president.

"Turkey took several steps and will continue doing so for the extradition of terrorist [group] leader [Fetullah Gulen] in Pennsylvania," Erdoğan told reporters at the Istanbul Airport.

FETO and its U.S.-based leader Fetullah Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016, which left 251 people martyred and some 2,200 injured.

Turkey accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, particularly the military, police, and judiciary.

Erdoğan said counter-terrorism, especially security issues of common concern, military and defense industry cooperation, as well as economic and commercial relations will also be addressed during his U.S. visit.

"With Trump, we have set a target to raise the bilateral trade volume to $100 billion. We will find the opportunity to evaluate the steps to be taken and the work that have been carried out," he said.

The Turkish leader also voiced hope that the talks between representatives of business world from Turkey and the U.S. will help the truth about Turkey to be understood in a time smear campaigns against Turkey have surged.

"Despite the bad climate in our relations, we agree with President Trump on the point of resolving problems and improving our ties."

Erdoğan said Turkey would prove with documents that the U.S. meeting with terrorist YPG/PKK ringleader Ferhat Abdi Şahin "is wrong".

"We will also tell [Trump] that the U.S. should treat the PKK/YPG terrorist organization just like they do for Daesh [ISIS] and other terrorist organizations," he added.

Turkey halted cross-border military operation to clear the People's Protection Units (YPG) militants off the northeastern region of war-torn Syria, after two ceasefire deals, first with the United States, then with Russia, both designed to allow the YPG to evacuate the area within 30 kilometres of the Turkish border.

The YPG -- viewed by Turkey as the Syrian extension of the PKK terrorist organization -- has been another source of tension between Ankara and Washington.

It is "unfortunately impossible" to say "terrorist groups" have left the area from along Turkish borders, Erdoğan said, referring to the YPG.

"Neither Russia nor America have been able to cleanse these terror groups from this area on the hours or days they promised," Erdoğan said.

"We want to start a new era on issues regarding the security of both countries."