Erdogan hopeful for breakthrough in dispute on arming Kurds


"If we are strategic allies, then we should make decisions in alliance", the Sabah newspaper cited Erdogan as telling reporters on Sunday during a trip to China.

Trump is to welcome President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on an official visit to the U.S. on May 16. His forces would receive "special weapons and armoured vehicles" to enter the city, Hassan said, after President Donald Trump changed United States policy to allow arms deliveries to the SDF's Kurdish component.

But as he prepares to meet with Trump on Tuesday in Washington, Erdogan has been less than pleased.

Following through on his vow to "kick ISIS's ass," President Trump this week moved to arm the Syrian Defense Forces, a mainly Kurdish group, for the campaign to retake Raqqa, the Islamic State's capital and last stronghold. The U.S. Justice Department thanked him and sent him away with no news of progress. "Now, we are in a crisis period". Erdogan, meanwhile, continues to lash out at political foes as he smarts over failing to score a decisive win at the polls - a stance in some ways reminiscent of Trump's continuing sensitivities over his receiving fewer popular votes than Hillary Clinton despite winning the electoral college vote. Mr. Erdogan says the using terrorists to fight terrorists...

"I actually see this U.S. visit as a new beginning in our ties", he said.

Even if Ankara could get US courts to act, a quick decision in the Gulen case was unlikely, Arslan said via e-mail.

"Both the PKK and YPG are terrorist organisations and they are no different apart from their names", said his foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu.

"Oftentimes, it can be untidy", Mattis said of keeping allies focused on that goal. Erdoğan is also likely to request the release of Reza Zarrab, a Turkish-Iranian businessman, and Mehmet Hakan Atilla, a deputy general manager of the Turkish state-owned Halk Bank, who are both on trial in the US for violating sanctions against Iran.

Washington is concerned by rising anti-Americanism in Turkey that Erdogan's government has tolerated since the July coup attempt.

Turkey responded angrily to a Pentagon announcement this week that the United States would move to equip and arm Kurdish fighters in Syria.

Obama's policy to support the YPG as the most effective fighting force against jihadists in Syria enraged Ankara, who regard the group as the Syrian branch of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has waged an insurgency inside Turkey since 1984.

But many foreign policy experts see the arming of the YPG by the USA as a done deal. Moreover, D. Trump decided not to depart from the policy of destabilizing the situation in the Middle East. Flynn, Kahl noted, was later found to be a paid consultant to pro-government Turkish interests.

Meanwhile, Kurdish analyst Mutlu Chiviroglu said the USA considers Turkey's arguments unconvincing, as there is no real threat to Ankara from the Kurdish militia. That voices in the Turkish government would even hint that Turkish forces might risk killing USA personnel in order to attack YPG forces shows the depth of Turkish hostility to the YPG and PKK who they see posing an existential threat to Turkey. The YPG is the main component of the SDF.

James Mattis, the United States defence secretary, said the Trump administration would "work out any of the concerns". "It's the same story". And why would we not engage them? The letter borrows heavily from talking points the Turkish Presidency used previously. "Could you accept that kind of decision?"

The move has infuriated North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally Ankara. We have fought in Somalia, in Kosovo, in Macedonia, in Bosnia-Herzegovina. These are terrorist organizations.

The news of the US directly arming Kurdish forces made global headlines and prompted strong condemnations from Turkey, but it is not that drastic a move.

"They can solve their problems in their country", Abdelqader said of Turkey.

Kurdish activist Mustafa Bali said the latest SDF gains are part of an effort to encircle Raqqa but that the actual assault on the city is likely to come later. But this step is necessary in order for our forces to liberate Raqqa. "They've been saying that for a year now". As Winston Churchill famously said, "You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else". The U.S., whose forces are sometimes embedded with the Kurds, has much to fear.



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