Ankara: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday he would not meet with US vice president Mike Pence during his visit to Ankara to discuss Turkey’s military operation in Syria.
“I am standing tall. I will not meet with them,” he told Sky News, referring to Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. They will meet with their counterparts. I will speak when Trump comes,” he said.
Meanwhile, US vice president Mike Pence arrived in Turkey on Thursday in a bid to secure a ceasefire to halt the Turkish offensive in Syria.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived earlier on a separate plane. They are due to meet with Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The visit comes a day after Erdogan firmly ruled out any negotiations with Kurdish militants in Syria, saying their only option was to lay down arms and retreat.
The United States has demanded a ceasefire in Turkey’s more than week-old operation in northern Syria. The President of the United states, Donald Trump, facing with mounting criticism over the abrupt pullout of US troops, has denied he gave Erdogan a “green light” to launch the offensive. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed on Wednesday that Turkey's operation — which has been facilitated by the withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria — would continue.Kurdish forces struck a desperate deal with Damascus and stepped aside to allow Syrian regime troops and allied Russian soldiers enter the border town of Kobane.
Kobane is a highly symbolic town for Syria’s Kurds, whose forces had in 2015 wrested it from the Islamic State (IS) group in an epic battle backed by the US-led coalition.
The Turkish operation, now in its second week, has triggered a flurry of diplomacy among major powers.
Meanwhile, Iraq's foreign minister said that Iraq will only take back its own citizens and their families who fought with the Islamic State group in Syria, not those from other countries....