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Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) holds a press conference in Washington, United States on November 20, 2018.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Turkish Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu (L) holds a press conference in Washington, United States on November 20, 2018.

Turkey will go ahead with its planned offensive against Kurdish militias in northeastern Syria whether or not the U.S. withdraws its troops from the country, its foreign minister said Thursday.

“If the (withdrawal) is put off with ridiculous excuses like Turks are massacring Kurds, which do not reflect the reality, we will implement this decision,” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told local news station NTV, without elaborating on a timeline.

The warning comes after American officials attempted to condition a U.S. troop pullout on a guarantee of safety for its Kurdish partners and Turkish non-aggression — something Turkish President Recep Erdogan promptly smacked down on Tuesday. Now Ankara, which has amassed thousands of Turkish troops along its border with Syria, says it will act regardless of a U.S. delay.

“We are determined on the field and at the table,” Cavusoglu said. “We will decide on its timing and we will not receive permission from anyone.”

White House national security advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have spent the week in the Middle East trying to reassure allies of America’s commitment in the wake of President Donald Trump’s shock announcement to pull all U.S. troops out of Syria. Security officials and lawmakers have warned this would mean abandoning local partners on the ground and undermining U.S. credibility when it comes to alliances.

The White House and State Department did not respond to requests for comment on Cavusoglu’s statements at the time of publication.

Turkey’s government has long threatened to unilaterally attack the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), the U.S.-supported militias controlling large swaths of northern Syria that spearheaded the local fight against the Islamic State. Ankara views the YPG as terrorists and a security threat on its southern border, stressing its ties to a separate Kurdish group that’s carried out a decades-long, violent insurgency against the Turkish state.

The two NATO allies continue to lock horns over the issue of the Kurds, which has proved a massive thorn in U.S.-Turkey relations since the Pentagon began arming and training the Kurds to battle IS in Syria in 2015.

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EU will offer Brexit delay, but length depends on UK parliament

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The European Union will grant Britain an extension to its Brexit negotiating period, but the length of the delay will depend on whether Prime Minister Theresa May is able to win a vote in parliament on an exit agreement next week, draft summit conclusions said.

The updated conclusions for an EU leaders’ summit, which have yet to be finalised, said the bloc would grant an extension to May 22 if May is able to get the existing Brexit divorce deal approved by the British parliament.

If she is unable to do so, Britain would only be give a Brexit delay until April 12. At this point the country would face a disorderly Brexit, or could ask for another extension if it agreed to hold European Parliament elections on its soil on May 23-26.

“The European Council agrees to an extension until 22 May 2019, provided the Withdrawal Agreement is approved by the House of Commons next week,” said the updated draft of the EU leaders’ agreement on Brexit, which was seen by Reuters.

“If the Withdrawal Agreement is not approved by the House of Commons next week, the European Council agrees to an extension until 12 April 2019 and expects the United Kingdom to indicate a way forward at the latest by this date.”

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Apple rallies as investors anticipate streaming service announcement

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Apple’s stock is on a tear this week as it releases a string of products in the lead-up to its highly anticipated event on Monday.

The stock had its biggest rally Thursday since January, closing up 3.7 percent at $195.09 per share for its ninth positive day in the past 10 trading days.

Apple fell just short of taking back the title of the world’s largest public company from Microsoft. Still, Apple is once again approaching $1 trillion in market value, adding about $33 billion to its market capitalization Thursday, bringing it to $919.9 billion.

While Apple has put the spotlight on its hardware this week, announcing new iPads, iMacs and AirPods three days in a row (with a fourth product possibly coming Friday), the focus of Monday’s event is expected to be on a new streaming video service. Teasing the event with the slogan, “It’s show time,” Apple is expected to introduce a new streaming TV service that will give iPhone and iPad users access to free original content and subscription channels such as Starz and CBS All Access, CNBC previously reported.

Investors are already seeing a big upside to Apple’s expected venture into streaming. Needham upgraded the stock on Thursday and raised its price target from $180 to $225.

In a note to investors, Needham analysts wrote that if users adopt Apple’s streaming service, it “should lower churn and drive higher lifetime value.” It could even attract new customers to its products and services, they wrote.

Citigroup also raised its price target on the stock from $170 to $220 on Thursday, even though analysts said in a note they don’t anticipate the launch of Apple’s streaming service “to be a big catalyst for the stock.” They noted, rather, that the streaming is meant to drive recurring revenue for the company, in continuation of its services strategy.

Wedbush raised its price target from $200 to $215 Thursday, saying, “Monday’s announcement is just the tip of the iceberg for [Apple CEO Tim] Cook’s broader streaming content strategy to take hold and in our opinion adds a significant potential catalyst to the Apple services growth story for years to come.” The analysts hedged slightly, noting that Apple “is definitely playing from behind the eight ball in this content arms race with Netflix, Disney, Hulu, and AT&T/Time Warner all going after this next consumer frontier.”

Disclosure: Comcast, which owns CNBC parent NBCUniversal, is a co-owner of Hulu.

— CNBC’s
Michael Sheetz
contributed to this report.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.

Watch: Apple announces new AirPods with wireless charging and voice control

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US allies defy Washington’s please to ban Huawei

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But its not just Germany that is defying the U.S. Italy’s government has said that it won’t ban Huawei from its telecommunications industry, saying there is no proof of any security threat.

And in the United Kingdom, intelligence officials said that any risks posed by Huawei can be mitigated, according to an FT report in February. Even individual carriers have expressed their concern over excluding Huawei from the 5G rollout. U.K.-headquartered carrier Vodafone said banning Huawei could cost it millions of pounds and slow the rollout of 5G.

Experts say that while the American rollout of 5G would not be affected by a Huawei ban, Europe could suffer. Nikhil Batra, senior telecommunications research manager at IDC said European carriers’ businesses have struggled compared to those in the U.S., so they want the cheapest possible deal for 5G equipment — something that Huawei can provide.

“When you look at the industry as small as network equipment providers, excluding Huawei will have a big impact on the industry. If I am going from three major vendors to two major vendors, competition decreases, prices will increase as a result. A lot of countries, including specific telcos, are looking at Huawei as a better-cost option,” Batra told CNBC on Thursday.

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