Ties with USA at risk of breaking down: Turkey

Ties with USA at risk of breaking down: Turkey

Ties with USA at risk of breaking down: Turkey

Mevlut Cavusoglu told reporters in Istanbul that USA forces are leaving "pockets" with IS militants intact to justify continued cooperation with the Kurdish militia.

"Since the start of Operation Olive Branch, 666 people have been detained over the terrorist propaganda in social media", the ministry said in a statement.

NATO Turkey has legitimate security concerns

Turkey's foreign minister assailed the United States on Monday, claiming that American forces in Syria are intentionally stalling the fight against Islamic State militants as an excuse not to cut ties with Syrian Kurdish militiamen as Ankara has demanded.

Declaring bilateral ties at a "critical point", Cavusoglu said: "We will either fix the ties or they will break down completely". The U.S. partner force on the ground, the YPG, is the Syrian extension of the PKK, a group the U.S. designates as a terrorist group.

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U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis on February 11 acknowledged that some members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) - the U.S. -backed militant group dominated by the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) - had shifted to the Afrin district amid Turkey's ongoing military operation there, state-run Anadolu Agency reported on February 12.

Gen. H.R. McMaster met with senior Turkish officials Sunday to reaffirm the long-standing partnership between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, as Ankara continues to issue thinly-veiled threats against USA forces in northern Syria.

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McMaster's talks with Erdogan's spokesman Ibrahim Kalin in Istanbul come days ahead of an expected visit to Turkey by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The U.S. has long supported the PYD/PKK as a "reliable ally" in its fight against Daesh, over the strong objections of Ankara, which has documented that it is the Syrian branch of the terrorist PKK.

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The operation is being carried out under the framework of Turkey's rights based on global law, UN Security Council resolutions, its self-defense rights under the UN charter, and respect for Syria's territorial integrity, it said.

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