Turkey asks U.S. to hand over anti-IS military bases in Syria after pullout

Chen Zhuo

ANKARA, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- The Turkish presidential spokesman said on Tuesday that the United States should hand over its 16 military bases used for fighting the Islamic State (IS) militants in northern Syria to Turkey or the local authorities after its pullout.

During a press conference following a meeting with U.S. national security adviser John Bolton in the capital Ankara, Ibrahim Kalin said the U.S. plans for pullout from Syria is not "slowed down" according to the information Ankara has gathered from American officials.

Turkey also expects the United States to take back the arms that were delivered to the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) to fight the IS, the spokesman added.

Ankara sees the YPG as an offshoot of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the EU.

The U.S. authorities told Turkey that they were making efforts on the issue of arms, Kalin said.

Kalin said he had submitted two dossiers to Bolton, one about information on Turkey's policies "embracing Kurdish brothers" in the region, and the other about crimes committed by the YPG in Syria and human rights violations of the group.

Kalin noted he also told Bolton that the Manbij road map agreed upon by the two NATO allies should not be delayed.

Bolton arrived in Ankara late Monday to meet Turkish officials over guaranteeing the safety of Kurdish fighters in Syria, who act as a U.S. vital ally against extreme groups.

The closed-door meetings, which lasted around two hours, between Turkish and U.S. senior military, intelligence and diplomatic officials on Tuesday, focused on the issue of post-U.S. pullout from Syria and Turkey's planned fight against the YPG remnants.

Bolton reportedly departed Turkey at noon on Tuesday without meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in an apparent snub over the disagreements about the Kurdish issue.



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