February 16, 2018 / 10:06 AM / 2 months ago

Tillerson says U.S. recognises Turkish right to secure borders, calls for restraint in Syria

ANKARA (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday that the United States recognises Turkey’s legitimate right to secure its borders, but called on Ankara to show restraint in its operation in Syria’s Afrin and avoid actions that would escalate tension.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu meets U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Ankara, Turkey, February 16, 2018. REUTERS/Cem Ozdel/Pool

At a joint news conference with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in Ankara, Tillerson also said that the United States has serious concerns about local employees at its missions in Turkey and called on Ankara to release a U.S. pastor and other Americans detained in Turkey.

Tillerson arrived in Turkey on Thursday for two days of what officials have said would likely be uncomfortable discussions between the allies, whose relations have neared a breaking point over a host of issues, but particularly Syrian policy.

Reporting by Yara Bayoumy; Editing by David Dolan

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