Erdogan Praises Trump, Denounces US's Kurdish Allies in Syria

Turkey’s influence in our political history goes back to the days of the Ottoman empire

Unfortunately, this decision will be just another step in the wrong direction, adding to the long list of catastrophic mistakes committed by successive USA administrations in the Middle East in the last 15 years because it ultimately contradicts everything the US claims to stand for in its relationship with Turkey, fighting terrorism and the future of Syria. Most other leaders steered clear of endorsing a power grab by the increasingly autocratic Erdogan.

Following passage of the amendments, President Trump called to congratulate Erdogan on his victory.

But the honeymoon didn't last long.

Yildirim's comments come hours ahead of a crucial meeting between presidents Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Donald Trump. In May 2016, one-third of all refueling and one-fifth of the air support for the worldwide coalition fighting ISIS took place at that air base.

Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are expected to address the Syrian civil war, the refugee crisis and the fight against the Islamic State group when they hold their first face-to-face meeting.

On the other hand, the USA needs the Syrian Kurds in the war against ISIS.

In return, Trump will have to give Erdogan assurances that Gulen will be closely monitored while the USA courts examine a Turkish extradition request and that - once the Islamic State has been driven out of the Iraqi city of Mosul - Washington will endorse a Turkish offensive against PKK bases in Sinjar, northern Iraq.

US military officials have long argued in favor of supporting the Kurds in Syria against ISIS because they are such competent soldiers.

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Last week, the Turkish president sent a high level delegation including chief of army, head of intelligence agency and his close adviser to Washington to lay grounds for his upcoming meeting with the US president.

Both leaders are also likely to discuss operations against Daesh in Iraq as well. His government has insisted it may attack Syrian Kurdish fighters again. Both are being prosecuted in the USA for alleged violations of sanctions against Iran.

Erdogan and his military have been wary of Kurdish gains in Syria for several years, but Ankara became especially anxious last year after the YPG, with US training and logistical help, captured significant territory from Islamic State.

The Kurdish force is for years Washington's most reliable ally in the region against the Islamic State (IS).

Whereas the Turkish government has always been proposing its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally for launching Raqqa operation with Turkey-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters and Erdogan is expected to raise the offer once more during his talks with Trump. President Trump has made clear that his primary response to their suffering is to try to ban even the most vulnerable from being resettled here and to propose major cuts to US -funded programs that support their most basic needs.

"Erdogan was nearly completely absent during the Muslim travel ban which was very surprising - Erdogan usually has something to say about everything", said Cagaptay, referring to Trump's early attempts to block travel to the United States from Muslim-majority Arab countries that got shot down twice in federal courts.

The principal focus of the visit is expected to be disagreement over Syria policy, which the White House perpetuated by announcing on last week that it would provide additional military aid to Syrian opposition forces dominated by a Syrian Kurdish armed group. Relations were strained, if businesslike, for the last few years as the Obama administration distanced itself from Erdogan's increasingly authoritarian rule. According to Russia's chief negotiator and Presidential Envoy on the Syrian Settlement, Alexander Lavrentiev, these zones are being established for a period of six months with the possibility of automatic extension for the same period.

Last week Trump opted to accept the Pentagon's plan to arm the Kurds. But they regard the issue of arming the YPG as touching on national security.

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"Both our countries are committed to fight all forms of terrorism", Erdogan stated.

"We look forward to having a long and productive discussion", Trump said.

The matter could emerge in Trump's meeting with Erdogan.

Turkey has become a close ally of Russian Federation in the past year, marking an extraordinary U-turn in a once rocky relationship, and Turkey is showing signs that it is less interested in having allies in the West. Washington was not invited and Turkey did not coordinate with North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

Erdogan hinted that his military would carry out more air strikes against YPG bases in Syria. US and Jordanian officials said the call was previously scheduled.

Erdogan knows "Zarrab is going to testify against him unless Turkey finds a way to save him from prison", Yayla wrote.

Ironically, by trying to weaken the Kurds in Syria, Erdogan could prolong the battle for Raqqa and ultimately help Islamic State.

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