After a meeting with Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan in Pentagon, Turkish Defense Minister, Hulusi Akar, also said that the US authorities agreed on working to avoid any delay on Manbij roadmap in northern Syria.

US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan welcomes Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, US on February 22, 2019
US Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan welcomes Turkish Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar to the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, US on February 22, 2019 (Reuters)

The US authorities agreed on working to avoid any delay on Manbij roadmap in northern Syria and to conclude it quickly, the Turkish defense minister said on Saturday.  

Speaking to Anadolu Agency following his meeting with Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan in Pentagon, Hulusi Akar said they reminded the US delegations at the meeting that there must not be a vacuum of power during troops withdrawal from Syria. 

Akar, together with Turkish Chief of General Staff Yasar Guler, arrived in Washington on Friday to discuss Syria and other bilateral and regional issues with the US officials. 

The Manbij deal between Turkey and the US focuses on the withdrawal of YPG/PKK terrorists from the city to stabilize the region, which is located in the northern part of Syria’s Aleppo province. 

Turkey vowed to carry out a counter-terror operation in Syria, east of the Euphrates, following two similar successful operations since 2016. 

In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK – recognized as a terrorist group by Turkey, the US, and the EU – has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG/PYD is the group's Syrian branch.  

Gulen extradition

During the meeting, the Turkish delegation also mentioned the extradition of Fetullah Gulen, the US-based leader of Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO), and other members of the terror group residing in the US soil, Akar added.

He went on to say that Ankara “will follow the issue closely in upcoming days”.

FETO and its leader Gulen orchestrated the defeated coup of July 15, 2016 in Turkey, which left 251 people dead and nearly 2,200 injured. 

According to Turkish officials, Ankara has requested Gulen's extradition from the US several times.

Ankara also accuses FETO of being behind a long-running campaign to overthrow the state through the infiltration of Turkish institutions, including the military, police and the judiciary.

Source: AA