Turkey cites disagreements with U.S. even as joint Syria patrols begin

FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a meeting of his ruling AK Party in Ankara, Turkey, September 5, 2019. Murat Kula/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, speaking hours after joint U.S.-Turkey patrols began in northern Syria, said on Sunday Ankara and Washington have constantly disagreed over establishing the planned “safe zone.”

“We are negotiating with the U.S. for the safe zone, but we see at every step that what we want and what they have in mind is not the same thing,” he said. “It seems that our ally is looking for a safe zone for the terrorist organization, not for us. We reject such understanding.”

The safe zone region is mostly controlled by Kurdish YPG forces, U.S. allies that Ankara has labeled terrorists.

Reporting by Irem Koca; Writing by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne