Relations between Turkey and the United States have deteriorated now to a point of either being fixed or breaking down completely, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu cautioned on Monday.
Declaring bilateral ties at a critical point, the top Turkish envoy said, “we will either fix the ties or they will break down completely.”
Speaking to the press in Istanbul following a meeting with African states, he said Washington has made several mistakes in handling its relationship with Ankara, including giving support to the Kurdish militia in Syria known as the People’s Protection Units (YPG).
Turkish troops launched an air and ground offensive against YPG-held Afrin in northwestern Syria on Jan. 20, as Ankara treats the Kurdish militants as terrorists associated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party.
Turkey has threatened to target Manbij, another Syrian town held by the YPG, in its next move, but the United States has refused to withdraw its troops from the town as demanded by Ankara, heightening the risk of a direct confrontation between the NATO allies.
“It is natural that we lost our trust in the U.S.,” Cavusoglu said, stressing that Ankara does not want to hear any more empty promises from its ally but rather wants to see concrete steps.
Turkish president’s security and foreign policy adviser Ibrahim Kalin met with U.S. National Security Adviser Herbert Raymond McMaster in Istanbul over the weekend, while foreign and defense ministers of the two countries are scheduled to meet respectively in Ankara and Brussels in the coming days.
Cavusoglu said all the sensitive issues will be discussed in detail during U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Ankara.