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Turkey Painting Itself Into a Corner in Syria

19 Mai 2017

The matter becomes even more complicated as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is scheduled to visit the White House this week.

In this April 6, 2017 photo, President Donald Trump speaks at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., after the USA fired a barrage of cruise missiles into Syria.

Turkish Justice Minister Bekir Bozdag voiced disappointment about what Turkey sees as the USA reluctance to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Pennsylvania-based cleric accused by Erdogan of being the mastermind of last year's coup attempt. The prime minister, Binali Yıldırım, sounded more realistic when he stated that Turkey can not possibly declare war on the U.S. Nevertheless, his words only express desperation.

Now, the only question is, how far do Trump and Erdogan extend, realizing their geostrategic ambitions? He [Trump] is looking at the situation in Iraq and Syria through the information fed by them.

It's not as though Turkey was unaware that United States 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. The US, Canada and the leading countries of Europe recognized the Kurdistan Workers' Party as a terrorist organization that has been fighting the central authorities of Turkey for more than 40 years by carrying out terrorist acts aimed at military and police forces in the eastern provinces of the country populated mainly by Kurds, for the establishment of the Kurdistan state. After a national referendum last month that strengthened Erdogan's presidential powers, European leaders and rights advocates criticized Turkey for moving closer toward autocratic rule. The Obama administration previously provided arms to the SDF, while deploying hundreds of USA special operations troops to northern Syria to train Syrian Kurdish fighters.

Turkey has opposed Trump's decision as he granted the Pentagon an official authorization to arm Kurdish fighters in Syria to fight against ISIS militants in Raqqa, a Syrian city taken over by ISIS in 2014.

Turkey is accusing Washington of indirectly supporting terrorists, because a Kurdish militia playing a key role in the USA -backed Syrian Democratic Forces is seen by Ankara as an affiliate of Kurdish rebels fighting Ankara.

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The United States has told Turkey that the YPG would not remain in the region after an operation on Syria's Raqqa, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said on Friday. At the same time Erdogan's actions periodically demonstrate that Turkey does not share the goals and the main principals of the alliance. Showing how much the Turks care about the meeting, the Turkish president's chief advisor, İbrahim Kalın, along with intelligence chief Hakan Fidan and top commander Gen. Hulusi Akar, traveled to the United States last week to meet their counterparts.

"We are very mindful of the Turkish concerns on this", Davis said. Their first face-to-face meeting, he said, would be a "milestone" in U.S.

"Put yourself in the shoes of the Turkish president", the official said.

Turkish government officials have offered their own troops, saying they don't want the Syrian Kurds, whom they consider terrorists, to take Raqqa. Other reports said Trump could give Erdogan free rein for Turkish attacks against the PKK in Iraq. "The United States is trying to substitute a threat, which is against the West's interests, with a threat against Turkey".

The Raqqa Campaign, a Facebook page affiliated with the Kurdish-led forces, says the fighters seized the cotton factory, 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) north of the city on Saturday.

Most recently, a CHP MP, Öztürk Yılmaz, criticized the governing party and Erdoğan for failing to stand up against the U.S. At the same time, the party is expected to warn the governing party to avoid putting Turkey in the position of North Korea by antagonizing the global community.