Bolton departs Turkey without meeting with Erdogan

Tasnim – US President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton is preparing to leave Ankara after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denied his requested meeting.

Erdogan earlier in the day slammed statements Bolton made that Washington’s condition for a troop withdrawal from Syria is that Turkey protects the PKK’s Syrian affiliate People’s Protection Units (YPG), Daily Sabah reported.

Commenting on the development, Erdogan told reporters that Presidential Adviser Ibrahim Kalın is Bolton’s Turkish counterpart. The two held a meeting on Syria at the Presidential Complex in Ankara earlier on Tuesday.

The president said his busy schedule prevented him from meeting Trump’s adviser on Tuesday, but if it had been necessary, they would have met.

Erdogan said at the Justice and Development (AK Party) Party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday morning that Bolton’s comments on the YPG were unacceptable, and that Turkey could not accept the US’ stated condition.

Bolton said Sunday that the US military withdrawal from northeastern Syria is conditioned on defeating the remnants of Daesh (also known as ISIL or ISIS)terrorist group, and on Turkey assuring the safety of fighters allied with the United States — the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which is dominated by the YPG terrorists.

Bolton and Kalın had a productive discussion regarding the United States’ decision to withdraw from Syria, spokesperson for the US National Security Council Garrett Marquis said after the meeting Tuesday morning.

Marquis added in a statement that the two sides had identified further issues for dialogue and that the US looks forward to ongoing military-to-military consultations.

US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford and James Jeffrey, the US special representative for Syria and the special envoy for the anti-Daesh coalition, also attended the meeting that lasted a little over two hours.