Turkish and US officials to discuss Syria, Iraq and Fetullah Terrorist Organisation – issues agreed upon during the US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson's visit to Turkey in February.
Talks between Turkish and the US officials have begun in Washington and several issues would be discussed, including Syria and Turkey's ongoing operation in Afrin, US state department officials said on Thursday.
"Today (March 8) is the first day that the US government and Turkish officials are meeting to discuss what was agreed to when Secretary [Rex] Tillerson met with his counterpart in Istanbul a couple weeks ago," Heather Nauert told reporters at a daily press briefing, referring to the first of the three technical committees of Turkey and the US, formed to solve issues between the two countries.
Issues on table
During Tillerson's visit to Turkey last month, three mechanisms were established between Ankara and Washington with a view to contributing to normalising bilateral relations and overcoming issues related to Syria, Fetullah Terrorist Organisation (FETO) and Iraq.
"This is an introductory meeting where we can start to hopefully work out some of these issues," Nauert added.
"As you all know we have got a lot of issues to discuss. So hopefully, we can make some headway at that level today."
Turkey's Afrin campaign
When asked if US was willing to put pressure on Turkey to stop the offensive in Afrin, Nauert said it would not be a surprise if it was one of the issues.
She also noted that nearly 20 US officials, led by Acting Assistant Secretary Wess Mitchell, attended the meeting and the department planned to release a readout about meeting tomorrow (March 9).
According to Turkish officials, the primary agenda of the committee on Syria was Turkey's demand to clear the PKK-affiliated YPG from Manbij that lies to the west of the Euphrates river in northern Syria.
The committee on FETO, the group behind July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, would discuss issues related to it.
Turkish officials would also focus on Turkey's procurement of S-400 missile system from Russia, migration and visa issues with the US officials.