Pence Meets Turkish President, Seeks Syria Border Resolution

Clay Curtis
October 17, 2019

Trump's chief of staff had earlier said the president may revoke a White House invitation extended to Erdogan, depending on the outcome of the talks in Ankara.

Ankara has long argued the Kurdish fighters are nothing more than an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has waged a guerrilla campaign inside Turkey since the 1980s and which Turkey, as well as the USA and European Union, designate as a terrorist organization.

The deal struck with Erdogan also provided for Turkey not to engage in military operations in the flashpoint Syrian border town of Kobani.

President Trump emphasized the announcement on Twitter.

Mr. Trump declared on Wednesday that the USA has no stake in defending Kurdish fighters who died by the thousands as America's partners against Islamic State extremists.

Donald Trump said "millions of lives will be saved" after the U.S. and Turkey brokered an agreement to hold a ceasefire in Syria. He said he thought Pence and Erdogan would have a successful meeting, but warned of sanctions and tariffs that "will be devastating to Turkey's economy" otherwise.

After US forces abruptly left the region last week, Turkish forces began attacking long-time Kurdish rivals across the Turkey-Syria border.

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After Pence and Erdogan met at the presidential palace, talks between Turkish and US delegations continued for over four hours - well past their expected duration.

"What is clear is that Turkey does not want a terrorist organisation on its border and the operation will not stop because of the reaction that has been coming".

In a bizarrely worded letter published by Fox Bussiness, Trump told Erdogan "don't be a fool", saying that he risked being branded a "devil" due to the Turkish-led offensive into northeast Syria.

Under the terms of the agreement, Turkey would allow the USA -backed Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) to withdraw from a "safe zone" near the Turkey-Syria border, thus removing one of the main causes for which Turkey had invaded northern Syria last week.

In a rare bipartisan rebuke, 129 members of the president's Republican Party in the House of Representatives joined Democrats to formally denounce the move in a vote on Wednesday.

Mr Erdogan claimed the incursion is to combat rival Kurdish militants and create a buffer zone that he can send Syrian refugees back to.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), spearheaded by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), was founded in 2015 and has helped the United States in its fight against ISIL.

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