PARIS: The US is discussing with its NATO allies what they can offer Turkey in terms of military assistance in Idlib and discussing measures that may be taken if Russia and the Syrian regime break a cease-fire, officials said on Tuesday.
“We are looking at what NATO can do,” James Jeffrey, the US’ special envoy for Syria, said in a conference call from Brussels where he was holding talks with allies. “Everything is on table.”
Jeffrey, who was speaking alongside the US ambassador to Turkey, David Satterfield, ruled out the use of ground troops should the cease-fire be broken and repeated that Ankara needed to clarify its stance on purchase of the Russian S-400 Air Defense System.
In a separate development, a Turkish prosecutor said a US Consulate employee should be acquitted on charges of espionage and trying to overthrow the government, but should face jail on a lesser charge of belonging to a terrorist organization.
The prosecutor told an Istanbul court that the evidence did not back up the original charges against Metin Topuz, who has been in jail for nearly 2-1/2 years while facing trial.
Topuz’s trial has been one of many sources of strain between NATO allies Turkey and the US, who have also been at odds in recent years over policy differences in Syria and Turkey’s purchase of Russian missile defense systems.
Topuz is accused of links to officials who led a 2013 corruption investigation and were later found to be members of a network blamed for a failed 2016 military coup.
The investigation implicated officials in the government of then-prime minister, now President Tayyip Erdogan.
The prosecutor said the frequent contact Topuz had with members of Fethullah Gulen’s network taking part in the investigation showed he was a member of the group, which is considered a terrorist organization by Ankara.