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With Tillerson Out, Turkish Foreign Minister Delays US Visit


Turkey's Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, right, shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, after a joint news conference following their meeting in Ankara, Turkey, Feb. 16, 2018.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu's planned visit to Washington Monday has been postponed, his spokesman said Thursday, following the U.S. decision to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.

A planned visit Monday to Washington by Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has been postponed. No reason was given but Cavusoglu had earlier described the meeting as key to resolving ongoing differences between the countries over Washington’s support of the Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG, in its war against the Islamic State.

Ankara considers the militia terrorists linked to a Kurdish insurgency inside Turkey.

Turkey has been angered by Washington's support for the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia in the fight against Islamic State. Turkey sees the YPG as a terrorist group and an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

There had been signs of an easing in strains between the NATO allies after a recent visit to Turkey by Tillerson, whom U.S. President Donald Trump sacked Tuesday as secretary of state.

But Turkish media has seized on a tweet purportedly made by Pompeo after a failed coup in July 2016, and before he became CIA director, which referred to Turkey as a "totalitarian Islamist dictatorship." The tweet was later removed.

Turkey has been angered by the U.S. failure to extradite the Pennsylvania-based cleric whom Ankara blames for orchestrating that attempted putsch and by the conviction of a Turkish banker in an Iran sanctions-busting case.

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