Erdogan hopeful for breakthrough in dispute on arming Kurds

Too exuberant in its support for the Kurds, and the US risks pushing ally Turkey toward USA geopolitical rivals like Russian Federation or emboldening the Kurds to try to create an independent state — a scenario that would destabilize multiple countries in the region. 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.

Turkey drew rebukes from the U.S. State Department and Pentagon last month when its warplanes bombed Kurdish groups in Syria and Iraq.

His prime minister, Binali Yildirim, said that Washington's stance "will surely have consequences and will yield a negative result for the U.S.as well".

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed hope on Friday that his upcoming visit to Washington will constitute a new "milestone" for the troubled relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies. 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. Turkey says the group is an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

Members of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), made up of an alliance of Arab and Kurdish fighters, walk down a street in Syrian town of Tabqa, on May 12, 2017, as they advance in their battle for the Islamic State group's stronghold in nearby Raqqa.

Arming the Kurds is a good first step. Gulen is a cleric and one-time ally of Erdogan who now stands accused of being behind much of the domestic opposition to the Turkish president's rule, including the attempted coup past year.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the US and the European Union, while Turkey also considers the PKK's Syrian offshoot, the PYD/YPG, a terror group.

Finally, Trump treats Erdogan like a fellow victor, someone who deserves to be at the head table with the other winners.




The possible worsening of relations between Turkey and the U.S. following the countries of the European Union can strengthen patriotism and nationalist sentiments not only among Erdogan's supporters, but also among the leftist political forces, the anti-American sentiment among whom sometimes is off the charts, and will bring it closer to Russian Federation.

Regarding "terrorists", the US and Turkey do not see eye-to-eye.

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

Erdogan blames Gulen supporters for a failed coup attempt last July and has conducted a large-scale crackdown on them, drawing criticism from Washington. Ankara said the plan was "unacceptable" and a threat to its national security. "I would expect Erdogan to try and "talk Trump out of this" but even he has to know that this won't work", said Stein. "And I think this trip will be a breaking point on this issue".

But Erdogan may not be amenable to accepting the US military support for the Kurds in a quid pro quo. Later, Turkey's air attacks on Syrian and Iraqi Kurdish militia positions were declared illegitimate.

However, regardless of what Trump might say on the issue, whether Gulen can be extradited depends not on the presidency, but on the U.S. judicial system. Despite Turkey's economy being valued at $960 billion, business advocacy organisation the US-Turkey Business Council says bilateral trade is worth only $20 billion, with a mere 3.9 percent of Turkish exports destined for the US market and 5 percent of its imports originating from the US.

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