Presidents of both Turkey and the US have telephonically spoken about Kurdish fighters based in Syria that are aligned to the latter.
This comes after Washington called on the anti-Islamic State forces not to be harmed.
The telephonic conversation happened on Monday.
This comes after President Donald Trump’s harsh tweet in which he used a language viewed as threatening towards Turkey.
In the early hours of Monday, Trump warned Turkey once again not to attack Syrian Kurds following the withdrawal of US troops.
Trump tweeted: “Will devastate Turkey economically if they hit Kurds. Create 20-mile safe zone…”
Later on that, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s spokesperson commented on Trump’s tweet and replied to him as “Mr. Trump terrorists can’t be your partners and allies.”
Trump’s latest harsh tweet sparked outrage in Turkey and triggered a fear over markets as the Turkish Lira took a plunge in 2018 and weakened almost 28 percent against US Dollar last year.
To avoid a new crisis between the two NATO allies, the presidents’ phone call seems to have lowered the tension.
Spoke w/ President Erdogan of Turkey to advise where we stand on all matters including our last two weeks of success in fighting the remnants of ISIS, and 20 mile safe zone. Also spoke about economic development between the U.S. & Turkey – great potential to substantially expand!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 14, 2019
Commenting on a phone conversation with the Turkish president, Trump posted a message on his Twitter account saying: “Spoke w/ President Erdogan of Turkey to advise where we stand on all matters including our last two weeks of success in fighting the remnants of ISIS and 20-mile safe zone. Also spoke about economic development between the US & Turkey – great potential to substantially expand!”
“The president expressed the desire to work together to address Turkey’s security concerns in northeast Syria while stressing the importance to the US that Turkey does not mistreat the Kurds and other Syrian Democratic Forces with whom we have fought to defeat ISIS,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in a statement, referring to the Islamic State (IS) extremist group.
The Turkish presidency said the two men discussed the creation of a safe zone in northern Syria that is cleared of militia groups. It did not provide any other details.
The US’ demand that Turkey should not attack Syrian Kurds following American soldiers’ withdrawal was put as a precondition for a full withdrawal, however, Turkey strictly denies such a condition and classifies the Kurdish armed groups in Syria as terrorist groups.
The disagreement between two allies surfaced in recent weeks after Trump has announced on December 19 to withdraw US forces from Syria. The fuzzy road-map of US withdrawal brought some abrupt challenges both for Turkey and Kurds in the region as the two remain totally in opposite sides.
Turkey classifies the People’s Protection Unit (YPG) in Syria as an offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), currently banned in Turkey.
On the other hand, Kurdish fighters in Syria are believed to be the most reliable ally for the US against fighting ISIS.
Trump’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on a trip to Saudi Arabia recently said the US wanted to provide security for those who had fought IS and prevent any attack on Turkey from Syria. “If we can get the space and the security arrangements right it would be a good thing for everyone in the region,” he said.