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Turkey broaches thorny issues with Tillerson in Ankara

Turkey broaches thorny issues with Tillerson in Ankara
By Seamus Kearney
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A meeting has taken place in Ankara between the new US Secretary of State and Turkish leaders


Thorny issues between Turkey and the US have come up in a meeting in Ankara between the new US Secretary of State and Turkish leaders.

Syria and the fight against ISIL was one of the topics.

At a media conference, Rex Tillerson had this to say when asked about US support for Kurdish militia groups in Syria, an issue that has angered Ankara: “We had a very good discussion and conversation today, both on the Prime Minister’s level and the President, around an exchange of views on how best to secure areas going forward in Syria.

“We are exploring a number of options and alternatives. And we had a good discussion around those and there is additional, I think, consideration on both sides yet to come.”

As well as talking about the setting up of so-called “stabilisation zones” in Syria, Tillerson said Turkey was a close partner in the fight against ISIL.

Ankara has also been at loggerheads with the US over its demands for the extradition of the US-based cleric Fathullah Gulen, accused of plotting a coup in Turkey.

Standing alongside Tillerson, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said: “On this issue we are expecting concrete steps. At least some administrative measures should be taken and our request for a temporary arrest be carried out.”

But in Tillerson’s comments in front of the media he did not respond at all to the remarks about the controversy over Gulen.

Gulen denies Ankara’s accusations.

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