The first of the three technical committees formed of senior Turkish and U.S. officials, aiming to address the many disagreements between the two countries, will meet on March 8-9 in Washington, the Turkish authorities stated on Feb. 27.
During U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Turkey on Feb. 15-16 it was agreed that “three mechanisms” would be established between Ankara and Washington with a view to normalizing bilateral relations.
For Turkey, the primary agenda of the committee on issues related to Syria is its demand to remove the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Ankara sees as the Syrian branch of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), from Manbij, which lies to the west of the Euphrates River in northern Syria. Foreign Ministry Deputy Undersecretary Sedat Onal will reportedly head the Turkish delegation in the committee.
A second committee will discuss issues related to Pennsylvania-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, whose network Turkey believes was behind the July 2016 coup attempt. It will also address Turkey’s procurement of S-400 missile systems from Russia, migration and visa issues. Deputy Undersecretary Cihad Erginay will head the Turkish delegation in this committee.
The third committee will focus on the situation in Iraq and will be led on the Turkish side by Fazlı Çorman, director general for South Asia at the Turkish Foreign Ministry.