Turkish forces in Syria fired on protesters

Cheryl Sanders
November 14, 2019

These include Turkey's 1974 invasion of Cyprus, repeated violations of Greek airspace by Turkish fighter jets, Ankara's incursion into northern Syria and the purchase of Russian-made S-400 defense missiles which are incompatible with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation systems.

A bipartisan group of 17 US House lawmakers called on President Donald Trump to cancel a planned White House visit by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Wednesday, as the Turkish president said Tuesday he would not give in to European Union demands to stop oil and gas exploration in the Mediterranean around Cyprus.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan wave as they board a plane before a visit to the United States, in Ankara, Turkey, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019.

"Neither Russia nor America have been able to cleanse these terror groups from this area on the hours or days they promised", Erdogan said.

"Once we got the cease-fire, of sorts, we made a decision to put the package, including the visit, back on the table", one of the officials said, referring to the 17 October ceasefire agreement negotiated with Vice President Mike Pence a week after the operation kicked off.

However, the Turkish leader is accusing the USA of not following through on that deal.

Despite those objections, Trump approved Erdogan's visit after the Turkish government agreed to a USA -brokered cease-fire deal that cemented a Kurdish withdrawal from certain areas of northern Syria.

"We're going to be expanding", Trump said. Some in Congress say Erdogan should never have been invited to the White House in the first place.

A State Department official said that USA authorities "are aware of reports of the detainment of a U.S. citizen by Turkish authorities" but could not comment further because of privacy rules.

Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu warned last week Ankara would begin to send back Islamic State militants to their home countries even if their citizenships have been revoked.

Kurdish forces, who have been guarding 5,000 "extremely dangerous" imprisoned jihadists in jails across Syria, say they can not keep the militants guarded on an ongoing basis. Erdogan's government has long supported jihadist groups in Syria, and extremist fighters are among Turkish-backed forces invading Rojava. Some of these militants have been accused of war crimes during the operation.

"It has upended what was an oasis of stability, damaged USA credibility and standing on the world stage and strengthened the hands of Russia, Iran" and the Syrian government of Bashar Assad, Shaheen said. "There must be real worldwide solidarity", he said. "Over 100,000 people have fled this offensive and there are fears that the displaced are not getting access to food, to clear water, or to medical supplies". The UN cited video footage showing fighters with the Ahrar al-Sharqiya armed group filming themselves capturing and executing three Kurdish captives on a highway in northern Syria.

Illustrative: Image of Russian S-400 long-range air defense missile systems deployed at Hemeimeem air base in Syria, December 16, 2015.

Turkey said more than 20 other European suspects, including 11 French citizens, two Irish nationals and several more Germans, are in the process of being repatriated to their countries of origin.

Trump has not yet decided whether to impose congressional sanctions on Turkey for the S-400 purchase.

Other reports by iNewsToday