US should seriously consider Turkey’s Raqqa proposal, says US Senator McCain

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (right) met with US-Senator John McCain in Ankara, Turkey on 20 February 2017. (Kayhan Özer/Anadolu Agency)

Republican Senator John McCain said on Monday, “US-Turkey alliance is more vital than ever,” after meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara.

“The United States must work with Turkey to deal a rapid and lasting defeat to ISIL as part of a broader strategy to strengthen U.S. allies and partners, counter the malign influence of our adversaries, and build a favorable balance of power in the region,” McCain said.

The senator said the growing disorder in Europe in the Middle East called for an alliance between the countries “based on shared democratic values.”

“President Erdogan described a proposal to establish safe zones in Syria and retake Raqqa that should receive serious consideration by the United States,” Senator McCain, who is also the Chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said.

The Senator underlined the opportunity to “review and reassess current policy in Syria” under the new Trump administration.

Turkey proposed two separate plans to the US to take Islamic State (IS) stronghold Raqqa in northern Syria last Friday in a meeting between Turkish General Chief of Staff Hulusi Akar and his US counterpart Joseph Dunford at Incirlik military airbase in the south of Turkey.