Istanbul, Feb 10: American CIA chief Mike Pompeo arrived in Turkey to discuss the issue related to Islamic State (IS) group still active in Syria and Iraq, and find ways to end the Syrian conflict and create safe zones for the refugees.
Mike’s visit also aims at resuming bilateral relations between the US and Turjey, which deteriorated in the past three years due to friction between former President Barack Obama and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Pompeo’s visit followed the telephonic conversation between President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Erdogan 48 hours ago. Erdogan urged Trump to stop US support to Kurdish forces in Syria as Turkey considered them close to the banned Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) in their country.
Observers feel that Pompeo’s haste in visiting Turkey could mean renewed US support for Turkey that was once a staunch ally in the Mediterranean and Middle East, especially with respect to the Turkish efforts against terrorist groups like the ISIS.
During the visit, Pompeo and Turkish officials are expected discuss ways to coordinate efforts on the ground. The current situation is very fragmented with Washington supporting the Kurds on the offensive against Raqqa, the Islamic State stronghold in Syria, and the Turks supporting the Arab coalition moving towards the town of al-Bab, north of Aleppo.
The proposal to create safe zones for refugees and internally displaced persons will also be on the table. Turkey’s request for extradition of Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen is also on the agenda.
Turkish authorities blame Gülen, who is in exile in Pennsylvania, of master-minding a failed coup in July 2016 in which 270 people were killed and thousands wounded.
Reacting to the coup, Turkish authorities have arrested more than 41,000 people, including teachers, soldiers, intellectuals, opposition politicians, businessmen, journalists, activists and ordinary citizens, as well as suspended or fired more than 100,000 public sector workers.