Tillerson works to fix ties with Turkey

Ex-HDP leader blasts 'unfair trial' in court appearance

Tillerson works to fix ties with Turkey

Speaking at a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Cavusoglu also said Tillerson's visit marked a critical point for the future of the relations between two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

"As I said before, our relations are at a critical turning point", Tillerson said. "Ours is not an alliance of convenience", he said. "We were either going to correct this and continue our relations or we were going to go into a much more worse position".

Such rhetoric was absent on Friday and USA officials expressed hope that it would not resurface in the days after Tillerson's visit, which followed a similar trip earlier this month by national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

Ankara views the YPG as an extension of the PKK, a group designated terrorist by Ankara, US, EU which has fought a decades long conflict with the Turkish state.

"In the talks, Turkey's priorities and expectations on all these topics were clearly conveyed to the U.S. secretary of state", said a source, asking not to be named.

The US and Turkey, whose forces are at loggerheads in northern Syria, have agreed to try to defuse the crisis.

"It's geographically important. That's why the USA has left a troop presence in Manbij to ensure that that city remains under control of our allied forces and does not fall into the hands of others", Tillerson said.

Cavusoglu added that Turkey and the USA should fix relations and this will benefit the region.

Tillerson works to fix ties with Turkey

Analysts say the level of tension was similar to 2003 when Turkey refused to let U.S. troops operate from its territory for the Iraq war, or even the aftermath of Ankara's invasion of Cyprus in 1974.

Other sources of conflict have been a recent defense deal struck between Turkey and Russian Federation over the purchase of an S-400 anti-missile system The deal has raised concerns by the West over deepening ties, as well as Russia's integration into NATO's military architecture.

Tillerson said the intent of the legislation "was not to harm our friends and allies" but stressed that the administration would enforce provisions that call for sanctions against countries and firms that do business with certain Russian military producers.

The Turkish minister also reported Mattis as saying the USA was developing plans to take back weapons supplied to the Syrian Kurds.

"We want to consult with Turkey and make sure they at least understand what may be at risk with this transaction", Tillerson said.

Turkey's military last month launched "Operation Olive Branch" in Syrias's northwestern Afrin district, in a bid to clear the YPG from its southern border.

On Friday, February 14, pro-Ankara forces maintained pressure on Kurdish paras in Afrin, striking in the region's west and scoring a small advance that has so far led to the capture of Hassan Kalkawi and Jalma - two co-joining villages.

Associated Press writer Lorne Cook in Brussels contributed.

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