Turkish PM attacks US decision on arming Kurds

Posted May 17, 2017

President Trump welcomed Turkish President Erdogan to the White House on Tuesday, where the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to combating terrorism and defeating the extremist group the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

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 USA training and logistical help, captured significant territory from Islamic State. For each of the numerous weighty items that will consume the agenda, it is important that President Trump and his advisers utilize history as a guide for these important bilateral discussions.

But then, on May 9, just one week before Erdogan's White House visit, the United States announced it would provide weapons to the YPG, Kurdish forces fighting as part of the Syrian Democratic Forces, the rebels who are now planning to assault Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State. If we are strategic partners, we should make decisions in an alliance. "There is no place for the terrorist organizations in the future of our region".

As Sen. John McCain said earlier this year, if Turkish-Kurdish tensions get out of hand, the result will be a "train wreck" in Syria. Turkey seeks his extradition, a request that the Obama administration showed little interest in fulfilling. "We can come unexpectedly in the night..." he said on April 30. His administration concluded the best hope short of inserting US troops would be to arm Kurdish fighters and the president decided that was worth the inevitable blowback from Turkey, the official said.

On May 4, Russia, Turkey, and Iran signed a memorandum agreeing to establish four "de-escalation" zones in Syria, which should facilitate the flow of refugees and humanitarian aid.

The ceasefire talks - held in Astana, Kazakhstan - were spearheaded by Russian Federation and were widely seen as a way to sideline the United States from the process. He also seemed to frame it as a remnant left from the Obama administration.

The United Nations has for years failed to make crucial decisions in resolving the Syrian conflict as Russian Federation repeatedly used its veto power to shoot down resolutions.

Turkey has been one of the most vocal opponents of Syrian President Bashar al Assad since the civil war in neighboring Syria erupted 6 years ago.

In an increasingly complex world, strong relations between the United States and Turkey are critical now more than ever.

The two presidents' statements also didn't touch on another key Turkey-related issue: the extradition of cleric Fethullah Gulen. Another thorny issue will certainly be the requested extradition of the US -based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom Ankara accuses of orchestrating the coup.

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According to the White House, Comey was sacked late Tuesday on the recommendation of the deputy attorney general Rob Rosenstein. As Oliver notes, "It is inherently suspicious to try to put words in Comey's mouth as you kick him out the door".

Gulen denies any involvement in the plot.

Ahmet S. Yayla, a George Mason University professor and former Turkish prosecutor, wrote in Modern Diplomacy this week that Erdogan wants the US case against Zarrab dropped because his government was involved in the scheme to help Iran circumvent sanctions.

"I want to believe that Turkey's allies will side with us, not with terrorist organizations", Erdogan said last week.

"In my opinion, the United States of America should not be an incubation center for FETO".

But he said last week ahead of the trip that he views his visit to Washington as "a new beginning in Turkish-American relations".

"What's he going to do, sit in a coffee shop on K Street?" We have not been made a promise yet. As Lincoln reportedly said of Grant, "I can't spare this man; he fights". With this status, it has been able to carry out a widespread purge that has shaken up just about every aspect of public life in Turkey.

Tens of thousands have been purged from state jobs, and thousands imprisoned; Turkey now has more journalists in prison than any other nation.

Erdogan has been widely criticized for the purge by Western leaders, who accuse him of taking on a dictatorial role. While European leaders persisted in badgering Erdogan about "creeping autocracy" after he amassed more power in a national referendum last month, Mr. Trump offered his congratulations.

Erdogan congratulated Trump on his "legendary triumph" in last November's presidential election.