Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu says ratification of the pre-agreed roadmap in Syria will be on the top of his agenda during his visit to Washington on June 3-4.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu on Wednesday said ratifying of the pre-agreed roadmap for cooperation on Syria's Manbij will be at the top of the agenda during his visit to Washington on June 3-4.
In an interview with a Turkish news broadcaster, A Haber, Cavusoglu said: "This action plan [on withdrawal of YPG/PKK] could be applied by the end of summer. Turkish and American soldiers will jointly supervise the withdrawal."
He said the roadmap of the agreement is based on a "concrete schedule" and that implementation of the agreement will begin as soon as preparatory efforts are done.
Underscoring the importance of the agreement between Turkey and the US, Cavusoglu said the agreement is aiming to achieve "stability in all of Syria's northeast," and will not be limited to Manbij alone.
The YPG is the Syrian branch of the PKK which has been conducting an armed campaign against the Turkish state since the 1980s and its terror attacks have taken the lives of some 40,000 people.
The PKK is considered as a terrorist organisation by Ankara, Washington and Tehran.
Following a visit by former US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Ankara in February, Turkey and the US established a mechanism to address separate issues in working groups, including the stabilisation of Manbij to prevent any undesirable clashes.
F-35 jet deal
Regarding the F-35 fighter jet deal with the US, Cavusoglu said: "Turkey has fulfilled its obligations until now. Made its payments on time, not only for this F-35 deal. It is a comprehensive and a strong legal agreement that even includes the production of replacement parts."
He said there is no reason for the US not to deliver F-35 fighter jets to Turkey and added, "such a serious project cannot be cancelled with an artificial reasoning."
In the case of delivery of the fighter jets being delayed or cancelled, Cavusoglu said Turkey would explore other markets.
"In the worst case scenario, we will attempt to buy it from other countries or other allies if we need to [...] Turkey would not be left without a solution or an alternative."
However, he asserted that such an approach by the US would not be appropriate as the two countries are NATO allies.
Turkey is slated to buy 100 F-35As and placed a firm order for the first two jets in 2014.
It plans to deploy the aircraft by 2019.
The F-35s will replace the ageing fleet of F-4 and F-16 aircraft. The first delivery of the F-35s to Turkey is slated for June 21, 2018.
'Iran must support fight against PKK'
Responding to a question about a possible operation in northern Iraq's Qandil mountains, the headquarters of the PKK terror organisation, Cavusoglu stressed that all Turkish military units are conducting operations against the terror group as deemed necessary.
"In the fight against the PKK, Baghdad administration, Erbil, the US and Turkey must fight together," he said.
Responding to another query, Cavusoglu asserted the significance of Iran's support and noted some PKK terrorists escape to the Iranian side of the border once operations are underway in the said region.
"Here, Iran must be on our side in counter-terrorism. Because the PKK and PJAK (Iranian wing of the PKK) are the same terror group," he added.