A high-level Turkish delegation including the foreign and defense ministers is to pay a visit to Russia this weekend to discuss recent developments in Syria, according to the country’s ruling party spokesman on Wednesday.
The delegation, including Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, presidential aide Ibrahim Kalin, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar, and intelligence chief Hakan Fidan, will be in Moscow on Saturday, Justice and Development (AK) Party spokesman Omer Celik said at a press conference in the capital Ankara.
The visit comes in the wake of last week’s surprise announcement from U.S President Donald Trump that Washington will withdraw all its troops from Syria.
Celik said a plan would be made after Saturday’s talks to hold a meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Following the U.S. announcement, intense diplomatic efforts will continue with Iran and Russia in the days to come, he said.
Turkey will share its new perspective on counter-terrorist efforts that it will apply in the region during the withdrawal and post-withdrawal process, Celik added.
“This work will continue in a highly planned and systematic manner within the framework of coordination.”
- ‘We know our Kurdish Mideast brothers very well’
The spokesman also slammed Israel’s justice minister for her remarks against Erdogan over an expected anti-terror operation in Syria.
“It grabs your attention when an individual who urged the killing of Palestinian mothers praises the PYD-YPG-SGD line in this way,” he said.
On Sunday, the Jerusalem Post quoted Ayelet Shaked as saying: "I hope that they [Kurds] will win in their battle against the Turks. I hope that the international community will prevent Erdogan from massacring the Kurds.”
Shaked was referring to Turkey's planned counter-terror operation against PYD/YPG terrorists in the region east of the Euphrates River in Syria, the third such operation into Syria since 2016.
“Being praised by an individual who thinks the killing of Palestinian mothers is legitimate and makes a call for a massacre should be ... torture for any nation,” Celik said.
He reiterated that Turkey’s stance is against terrorism, not against Kurds, saying: “We know our Kurdish brothers in the Middle East very well. The Republic of Turkey has relations with all of them.”
The PYD/YPG terrorizes Arabs and ethnic Turkmen as well as Kurds in the region, according to Turkish officials.
Shaked should stay out of Turkey’s business, said Celik.
He added that U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton is due to visit Turkey soon after New Year's Day.
By Mehmet Tosun