US's Blinken discusses security with FM in Ankara

MERVE AYDOĞAN @mgulaydogan
ANKARA
Published 17.06.2016 22:34
Updated 17.06.2016 22:35

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu received U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday in Ankara where the two officials discussed ways to further enhance cooperation on security and counterterrorism. Blinken 's visit to Turkey comes shortly after his visit to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and Ramallah. He and Çavuşoğlu also discussed the latest developments in Turkish-Israeli relations during their meeting.

The meeting was reported to have solely focused on developments in the Middle East, especially Syria. On the agenda was the ongoing crisis in Syria and a State Department officials' recent protesting U.S. policy in Syria, where they had signed a document urging targeted military strikes against the Syrian regime, underlining regime change as the only way to defeat DAESH.

Blinken's visit was the fifth of its kind since Ankara and Washington established a joint mechanism to increase cooperation between Turkish and U.S. institutions to fight terrorism in the region. According to State Department officials, the meeting saw discussions on further ways and areas in which increased cooperation is necessary in the fight against DAESH. While Ankara expressed its concerns about armed Syrian Kurdish groups linked to the PKK and provided evidence to the U.S. that the recent terrorist attacks in Ankara were closely linked with the People's Protection Units (YPG), the Democratic Union Party's (PYD) militia, Çavuşoğlu reportedly told Blinken that Ankara is closely following the developments in Manbij and that Ankara will not let the PYD create a fait accompli in the area, with Çavuşoğlu saying it is a red line for ANkara. The developments in Syria along with the 51 U.S. State Department officers signing a document calling for "targeted military strikes" on the regime of Bashar Assad was also a topic of discussion.

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