Turkey gave the US another chance: FM Çavuşoğlu

"They can’t say that Turkey acted hostilely towards the U.S.," Turkey's foreign minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said
Monday, 19 February 2018 02:34

The U.S. and Turkey will either normalize relations or bilateral ties will grow even worse, Turkey’s foreign minister said on Sunday, state-run Anadolu news agency reported.

Speaking to journalists during the Munich Security Conference, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said: "Our relations with the U.S. have been going through a critical period. Either we are going to normalize relations, put relations back on track, or they will get even worse.

"You can say that we gave another chance to bilateral relations," he said.

"From our side we didn’t do anything wrong. They can’t claim that Turkey actually undermined bilateral relations. They can’t say that Turkey acted hostilely towards the U.S.," the minister added.

Çavuşoğlu reminded that during U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Ankara last week, the sides agreed to establish two mechanisms. Under the new mechanism, senior Turkish and American officials will hold their first working group meeting in the first half of March, he said.

"Let’s see how they’re going to deliver," he said, warning that if they do not deliver, "then we have to deal with that."

Çavuşoğlu said one of Ankara's central demands of Washington is that it take back the U.S. weapons it gave to the Syrian Kurdish YPG militants. He said this has been a serious concern for Ankara, as the group tried to smuggle some of these weapons into Turkey. 

"And we also caught some of them in the hands of PKK terrorists in Turkey, they were using them to attack our security personnel and also civilians," he said. 

Çavuşoğlu also said that the YPG should leave Manbij. "The YPG cannot control predominantly Arab cities. They have to leave,” he stressed.  He underlined the U.S. side has long promised Turkey that the YPG would leave Manbij, but so far has not kept this promise.