President Erdogan has said he’ll refuse to meet Mike Pence and Mike Pompeo when they arrive in Turkey Wednesday to make their case for a ceasefire in Syria, and will only negotiate with President Trump. “I’m not going to talk to them. They will be talking to their counterparts. When Trump comes here, I’ll be talking,” Erdogan told Sky News when asked what he will say to the U.S. delegation. The vice president’s office announced Tuesday that Pence would lead the delegation includin
g Pompeo, national security advisor Robert O’Brien and the special representative for Syria, James Jeffrey in a trip to the Turkish capital of Ankara. The U.S. wants Erdogan to agree to halt his military operations in Northern Syria, launched after Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the area. However, Erdogan said Tuesday he’s not interested in a ceasefire. “They say ‘declare a ceasefire’. We will never declare a ceasefire,” he said.
and from NBC News: (with Sky)
“Earlier, when asked by Sky News about meeting an American delegation, Erdogan said through a translator: “I’m not going to talk to them. They will be talking to their counterparts. When Trump comes here, I’ll be talking.”
Erdogan’s communications director, Fahrettin Altun, said afterward that while Erdogan would not be meeting with a U.S. delegation in Ankara on Wednesday, he would meet Pence and Pompeo on Thursday.
It is unclear whether in his original comments, Erdogan meant he would refuse to meet with Pence.
Pence aims to convince the Turkish leader to agree an immediate cease-fire. He will also reiterate President Donald Trump’s commitment to maintain economic sanctions on Turkey until a resolution is reached, the vice president’s office said in a statement.
Erdogan told reporters in Parliament on Wednesday that he will evaluate whether to visit the U.S. next month after the meetings with the American delegation in Ankara this week, according to a translation by Reuters.
He said no power would be able to stop Turkey’s offensive in Syria, which would come to an end when Turkey completes the formation of its “safe zone” that will run from Manbij in the west to the border with Iraq, a distance of approximately 260 miles, he added.”