Ankara carried out an operation against the People’s Protection Units, or YPG, in October 2019. Russia, the Syrian regime and the United States also have troops in the border region.
Turkey consider the YPG to be a terrorist group linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK, that has waged an insurgency against Turkey since 1984, leading to the deaths of tens of thousands of people.
However, the YPG forms the backbone of U.S.-led forces in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria. The U.S. has not been happy with Turkey’s previous incursions into Syria.
Erdogan also told Putin that Turkey was ready to resume a role in ending the war in Ukraine, including taking part in a possible “observation mechanism” between Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations, the statement said.
Negotiations in Istanbul held in March failed to make any headway but Turkey, which has close ties to both Kyiv and Moscow, has repeatedly put itself forward as a possible mediator.
The Turkish president also called for peace in Ukraine as soon as possible and for confidence-building steps to be taken.
In Washington, the National Security Council said National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan had called Ibrahim Kalin, chief adviser to Erdogan, to discuss the two nations’ support for Ukraine, but also to voice caution about actions in Syria.
Sullivan “reiterated the importance of refraining from escalation in Syria to preserve existing ceasefire lines and avoid any further destabilization,” said Adrienne Watson, spokesperson for the National Security Council.
FILE – Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a news conference, in Ankara, Turkey on May 14, 2022. Within a two-week span, Turkey’s president has caused a stir by throwing a wrench in Sweden and Finland’s historic bid to join the NATO alliance, lashed out at NATO-ally Greece and announced plans for a new incursion into Syria. The Turkish leader appears to be using Turkey’s power to veto NATO’s expansion as an opportunity to air a variety of grievances against the Western nations and to force them to take action against Kurdish militants and other groups that Turkey views as terrorists.( AP Photo/Burhan Ozbilici, File)