ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — US national security adviser John Bolton has met with senior Turkish officials in Ankara to discuss the fate of Syria’s Kurds.
Bolton left the two-hour meeting yesterday morning at the presidency complex in Ankara exchanging pleasantries with Ibrahim Kalin, the senior adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Bolton has said he is seeking assurances that Turkey won’t attack the Kurdish militia in Syria that’s allied with the United States in the fight against the Islamic State. He says it’s a “condition” for President Donald Trump’s planned withdrawal of American forces in northeastern Syria.
The success of that effort was not immediately clear. Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish Peoples Protection Units, or YPG, a terrorist group.
Bolton had been expected to meet with Erdogan though it remains uncertain if they will meet.
President Donald Trump’s shifting timetable for pulling US troops out of Syria has left allies and other players in the region confused and jockeying for influence over a withdrawal strategy that appeared to be a work in progress.
One day after White House national security adviser John Bolton announced the US pullout would not be as immediate as Trump had initially declared, US allies on Monday sought clarification from American diplomats. The Kurds, who have fought alongside US forces against the Islamic State (IS) group and fear an assault by Turkey if the United States withdraws, were still asking publicly for an explanation from Washington.
Bolton said the US would first seek assurances from Turkey that it would not harm the Kurds — for the first time adding a “condition” to the withdrawal.
He arrived on Monday in Turkey to seek those guarantees from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but there was little reason for optimism.