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Kurdish-led forces to advance on ISIL's de facto Syria capital

17 Mai 2017

The U.S. alliance with Turkey has proven decisive in the battle against ISIS in Syria, providing the coalition with access to Turkey's Incirlik air base.

Unfortunately, it would not be possible to suggest a revision to the Kurdish policy within the framework of the crisis in the Middle East or within the framework of democratic politics at home, without facing a nationalist uproar and backlash in Turkey.

"I hope very much that this mistake will be reversed immediately", Erdogan said in Ankara alongside Sierra Leone counterpart Ernest Bai Koroma.

The announcement of the US President Donald Trump's decision a week before the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Washington is not a stab in the back of its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partner, a member of the coalition against ISIS in Syria and Iraq - Turkey, but rather a spit in the face of its charismatic leader. Trump's increasing domestic problems in the wake of his firing of FBI Director James Comey make it more likely that he will want to make a splash in foreign policy of some kind to generate some positive attention.

Ankara considers the YPG to be affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which is listed as a terror group in Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Ankara, a crucial partner in the USA -led coalition against Islamic State, considers the YPG an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which has waged an insurgency in Turkey's mainly Kurdish southeast for three decades and is designated a terrorist group by Turkey, the European Union and United States.

Arming the Kurds is a good first step.

It's not as though Turkey was unaware that U.S. weaponry was ending up with Kurdish Democratic Union forces, which Ankara considers a terrorist group allied with Turkey's outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK. Beyond the tension between Turkey and Israel, which complicates matters for Washington, Turkey's ongoing campaign against any hint of Kurdish self-determination has repeatedly raised issues for the U.S. over the years.

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It's complicated, but Erdoğan claims that militia group, known as the YPG, is linked to a terrorist group in Turkey.

On BBC radio news on Wednesday, May 10, Egeman Bağiş noted that the USA has failed to honor Turkey's repeated requests to extradite Fethullah Gulen and described this failure as evidence that the U.S.is not committed to fighting terrorism as "Gulen is known by everyone in Turkey to have directed the coup attempt" in July 2016.

Erdogan blames Gulen supporters for a failed coup attempt last July and has conducted a large-scale crackdown on them, drawing criticism from Washington.

Now, the American leader may try to cash in. Ankara said the plan was "unacceptable" and a threat to its national security. "And I think this trip will be a breaking point on this issue". If Erdogan can accept that his expectations cannot be realized because of the constraints of US law and national security interests but that he will be treated as an equal and there will be no interference or even harsh commentary regarding his domestic policies, these two birds of a feather should flock together for the mutual benefit of their respective national security interests. Last month, the Turkish military bombed Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq, in one case with American forces only about six miles (10 kilometers) away.

The US-backed forces put pressure on ISIS from each flank, cleared the final neighborhoods of the city, and isolated Tabqah Dam.

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Kurdish-led forces to advance on ISIL's de facto Syria capital