Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu will come together with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for a long awaited meeting in Washington on June 4, Turkish diplomatic sources have confirmed, amid bilateral tension over the latter’s relocation of its embassy to Jerusalem.
Çavuşoğlu and Pompeo held their first meeting in Brussels in late April and agreed on the Turkish foreign minister’s upcoming visit to Washington to continue bilateral talks addressing several problems including sharp differences on Syria.
Ankara has long been upset with the U.S.’s partnership with the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Turkey considers the group a terrorist organization and has long been asking its NATO ally to cease its cooperation with the group.
Turkey recently cleared Syria’s Afrin province of the YPG and has turned its focus to Manbij, where YPG militants and U.S. troops have long been stationed together.
A working group that was established between the two sides’ diplomats, intelligence and military have initially agreed on a road map for the withdrawal of the YPG from Manbij and for the control of the city by Turkish and U.S. troops.
After their meeting in Brussels, Çavuşoğlu expressed optimism that the two countries will soon approve the road map and will begin to implement it.
However, the upcoming meeting will comes amid rising tension between Ankara and Washington over the U.S.’s relocation of its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, drawing a strong reaction from the Islamic world, particularly Turkey.
Speaking to daily Hürriyet, Çavuşoğlu said he was not expecting the tension over Jerusalem to affect his meetings with Pompeo on Syria, describing them as “separate issues.”
Turkey has called its ambassador to Washington, Serdar Kılıç, back to Ankara for consultations in a reaction to the U.S. decision to move the embassy to Jerusalem.