U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday he was optimistic that a “good outcome” could be reached between Turkey and Syrian Kurdish groups, after speaking to the Turkish foreign minister.
“We recognize the Turkish people’s right to defend their country from terrorists, but we also know that those … who are not terrorists and fighting alongside us for all this time deserve to be protected,” Pompeo told reporters.
“There are many details to be worked out but I am optimistic we can achieve a good outcome,” he said.
Relations between the two NATO allies have been strained over U.S. backing for the Kurdish YPG, which Turkey views as an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) waging a decades-long insurgency on Turkish soil.
Pompeo said his phone call with Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu involved several elements of U.S.-Turkey relations, including Syria and the detention of Americans in Turkey.
He said the U.S. envoy for Syria, Jim Jeffrey, had traveled to northeast Syria this week and would soon go to Ankara for talks, including on moving forward a UN-led political process to end the eight-year long conflict in Syria.
He suggested that talks between Damascus and the Syrian Kurds could be part of a broader political solution in Syria.
“We hope we can turn the corner here,” Pompeo added.
Kurdish-led groups who control swathes of northern Syria fear an attack from Turkey in the wake of U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from their region. Turkey sees the Kurdish YPG militia close to its border as a security threat.
Trump’s decision to withdraw the troops hinges on Turkey’s cooperation to secure the northern border. But Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has vowed to crush the Kurdish groups that have been effective in defeating Islamic State in Syria.
Speaking in Abu Dhabi as part of a regional tour, Pompeo said the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria was a “tactical change” but the mission to destroy Islamic State and counter Iran’s influence remained the same.
In a speech in Cairo on Thursday, Pompeo vowed that the United States would “expel every last Iranian boot” from Syria, where Tehran is supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
“It’s an ambitious objective, but it is ours, and it is our mission,” he added.
The speech sought to lay out the Trump administration’s strategy for the Middle East and criticized former U.S. President Barack Obama, without naming him, for “fundamental misunderstandings” about the Middle East.
Pompeo said on Saturday the speech had not taken aim at individuals but rather the ideas of the previous administration, adding that the Obama-era policies opened the way for Islamic State and the spread of Iran’s influence in the region
John Oliver cites Donald Trump’s final offer for Greenland: ‘$200 and I’ll throw in Don Jr.’
"Last Week Tonight" host John Oliver's favorite highlight of the week was, of course, President Donald Trump's decision that he wanted to buy Greenland.
In his opener Sunday, the HBO host said that he wasn't all that surprised given Trump's track record.
"Of course, he f*cking did. Of course, he did. Greenland is icy, distant and autonomous is exactly Trump's type," Oliver said, showing a photo of Trump with the first lady.
Florida teacher removed after bizarre rant about students not standing for the pledge
Students were faced with a white-board rant in a classroom attacking anyone not standing up for the Pledge of Allegiance.
The moment went viral locally on Thursday after students posted Daniel Goodman‘s “inappropriate” message to students at First Coast High School in Duval County, Florida, The Atlanta Black Star reported.
“THINK: We had about a half million Americans die in our Civil War, which was largely to get rid of slavery. There are no longer separate water fountains and bathrooms in Jacksonville for ‘white’ and ‘colored,’ as Mr. Goodman remembers from the 1960?s. We had an amendment to the U.S. Constitution allowing women the right to vote. We have had a Black president. The superintendent of Duval Schools is a Black woman. Mr. Fluent, our principal, replaced a Black man. Mr. Simmons, who now is a DC PS admninistrator.”
Angry Minnesota farmer bashes ‘insulting’ Trump comments that ‘we’re great patriots’ during his trade war
President Donald Trump has insulted at least one Minnesota farmer by his claim that farmers are "great patriots" who want him to continue his trade fight against China.
"This wound is self-inflicted, by our president," said Gary Wertish, who is the Minnesota Farm Bureau president. "We definitely agreed with it in the beginning. But it doesn’t appear that there’s a plan B. Some of the callous comments come, especially from the president, you know, that farmers are 'winning,' we’re 'great patriots,' that’s very insulting. That’s coming from someone who never has faced the challenges of a family farmer. I go into the bank and tell the lender I can’t make the payment because we lost our market? The banker is going to tell me you don’t have to make your payment because you’re a patriot."