The Latest on White House national security adviser John Bolton’s Mideast trip (all times local):

1:20 p.m.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says Turkey’s preparations for a new military offensive against terror groups in Syria are “to a large extent” complete.

Erdogan made the comments on Tuesday, just hours after U.S. national security adviser John Bolton met with Turkish officials seeking assurances that Turkey won’t attack U.S-allied Kurdish militia in Syria.

Erdogan says that Ankara “cannot make any concessions. Those involved in a terror corridor (in Syria) will receive the necessary punishment.”

In his speech, Erdogan also slammed Bolton over comments suggesting the United States would prevent attacks on Kurds.

Turkish insists its military actions are aimed at Kurdish fighters in Syria whom it regards as terrorists and not against the Kurdish people.

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11:45 a.m.

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton has met with senior Turkish officials in Ankara to discuss the fate of Syria’s Kurds.

Bolton left the two-hour meeting on Tuesday morning at the presidency complex in Ankara exchanging pleasantries with Ibrahim Kalin, the senior adviser to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Bolton has said he is seeking assurances that Turkey won’t attack the Kurdish militia in Syria that’s allied with the United States in the fight against the Islamic State. He says it’s a “condition” for President Donald Trump’s planned withdrawal of American forces in northeastern Syria.

The success of that effort was not immediately clear. Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish Peoples Protection Units, or YPG, a terrorist group.

Bolton had been expected to meet with Erdogan though it remains uncertain if they will meet Tuesday.

Source: The Associated Press

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