Erdogan visits Trump, amid much friction between US, Turkey

Erdogan visits Trump, amid much friction between US, Turkey

The YPG can be an important instrument in achieving a military victory and, thus, Washington is prepared to take the risk of further damaging US relations with Turkey.

The decision gives the Pentagon clearance to arm the entire Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, a USA -backed coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters dominated by the Syrian Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), making gains against ISIS in northern Syria. The US says it needs the YPG in its battle against Daesh in Syria, a claim Ankara disputes.

It was never going to be the easiest encounter, but President Donald Trump's planned meeting with Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week has gotten even more awkward.

"The US administration appears to have concluded that the benefits of driving IS from Raqa as soon as possible justify the potential costs of further damaging Washington's strategic alliance with Ankara, and the risks associated with attempting to seize an overwhelmingly Arab city. with a Kurdish dominated force", the ICG report said.

Turkey recently ended its "Euphrates Shield" military operation inside Syria aimed at driving Daesh, the PKK and other terror and armed groups away from its border with Syria.

Also Saturday, activists reported that Syrian government forces were able to regain control of an air base in the northern province of Aleppo from Islamic State militants.

There is no avoiding the fact that Turkey will play a major role in any Middle East settlement, and that no matter how effective the Kurdish fighters are, the United States must find common ground with President Erdogan on the region's future.

Ankara wants the United States to cooperate instead with the Turkey-backed FSA (Free Syrian Army) to battle Daesh in Syria.

Officials in Washington, including Pentagon spokesperson Dana White, said the YPG is "necessary to ensure a clear victory", specifically in Raqqa, the main hub for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Syria.

Raqqa is also an oil-rich province, which could potentially become a source of income for the YPG, and subsequently the PKK, if the YPG does not cede control to the local population once Daesh is driven out of the city. President Trump hosts Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington on Tuesday.

A map of the Syrian conflict that shows the existing positions of the each warring side.

Graham: Trump did staff a 'disservice' by changing Comey explanation
The White House had no immediate comment. "He really, I think, did his staff a disservice by changing the explanation". Graham believed that the president was not the target of any agency investigation on Russian collusion.

Trump has not been in a tearing hurry to receive Erdogan.

A second hot potato for the meeting at the White House is the Ankara's demand from the USA temporary arrest and extradition of Fethullah Gulen, the self-exiled Islamic cleric in Pennsylvania who is accused by the Turkish government of masterminding failed coup attempt on July 15.

"It is a slander of the Obama administration". Cardin said he's hoping there's a "candid conversation" next week between Trump and Erdogan.

He will undoubtedly ask for his Turkish rival, Fethullah Gulen, living in Pennsylvania, to be turned over. Kow-towing would be a sign of weakness, undermining United States interests in Syria and Turkey.

But the Kurdish groups also mistrust the Syrian rebels whom they perceive as an existential threat due to their affiliation with Turkey which has armed some rebel groups. Trump's premise has been that he is focusing on deal-making. "It's a tremendously successful job".

Ahmet Kasim Han, an associate professor at Kadir Has University in Istanbul, calls it a "blunt" but "complicated" blow -a shrewd move that's "one for the history books". And the USA uses Turkey as a regional export base for more than 80 countries.

This notwithstanding, the Turkish government refused to engage with the PYD on any level, especially after the Kurdish peace process in Turkey came to a halt.

Boosting the commercial relationship is expected to be on the agenda in the Turkey-US talks. Erdogan knows that a rupture of Turkey's ties to the West would have grave economic and political consequences.

President Erdogan is also expected to ask release of Reza Zarrab, the Turkish-Iranian businessman, and Mehmet Hakan Atilla, the deputy general manager of the Turkish state owned Halk Bank, who are both on trial in the USA for violating sanctions on Iran.

In late March, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani - a strong and early Trump ally - and former US Attorney General Michael Mukasey joined Zarrab's defense team in the United States.

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