Trump and Erdogan to work toward finding Syria consensus

Geneva Matthews
May 17, 2017

On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump greeted Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House. Mr Trump also had a call with King Abdullah of Jordan earlier today, another United States ally in the Middle East.

Erdogan's visit comes after he won a historic referendum last month which gave him more executive powers as the President. So why is the pro-Erdo─čan media dropping hints that Turkey could cut its ties with the U.S.in an instant?

But the SDF's ranks, which estimates place at anywhere between 25,000 and 45,000 fighters, remain dominated by the YPG, which also retains control of the alliance's command, analysts say.

The U.N. has warned damage to the Tabqa dam - Syria's largest - could lead to massive flooding, and a source who works with the dam's technicians said they had fled the structure as fighting drew near in recent days.

The White House meeting comes amid intense and complex global diplomacy over the war in Syria, where Turkey and the United States both support forces in opposition to President Bashar al-Assad's government.

Earlier this month Turkey, Russia and Iran agreed to work together as guarantors of "safe zones" in Syria, excluding any USA involvement. The rollout of this is to try and smooth over feelings over this change in policy you mentioned, which is that the United States has chose to go in a direction in Syria that Turkey doesn't agree with.

Erdogan is expected to call on the Trump administration to reduce cooperation with the Kurdish YPG and renew demands for the extradition of Fethullah Gulen, a US -based cleric whom the Turkish president accuses of masterminding last year's failed coup.

All Trump's interactions with Erdogan are overshadowed by his family's business holdings in the country.

Turkey considers the YPG an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or the PKK, which is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States, and Europe.

Erdogan reiterated that his meeting with Trump tomorrow would be decisive for the future of bilateral ties.

Both Erdogan and Zarrab have been tied to a 2013 corruption scandal in Turkey, which sparked the pending US prosecution. "We've had a great relationship and we will make it even better", Trump said as he sat in the Oval Office beside his Turkish counterpart.

Erdogan is also expected to continue to pressure the United States to extradite cleric Fethullah Gulen, whom the Turkish president blames for an attempted coup last July, and to drop an Iran sanctions case against a wealthy Turkish-Iranian businessman. On April 25, Turkish warplanes bombed Kurdish militia bases in Syria and Iraq, killing at least 20 fighters.

But the meeting will take place with a White House still responding to what a senior US official said was disclosure of classified information about an Islamic State terror threat involving laptop computers on aircraft.

Zarrab's prosecution had been brought by Preet Bharara, the former USA attorney for the Southern District of NY, who was sacked in March along with other US attorneys named under President Barrack Obama.

Erdogan criticized the move before leaving Turkey, but in a more measured tone than his administration took last week when the news originally came out. "I don't think we have anything to lose in this meeting". "However, at the moment it is necessary, and we will be doing that at military level at a meeting in Istanbul or in Ankara".

Still, some in the Turkish government remain optimistic about how Mr Trump will deal with Ankara.

Yet Ankara is moving cautiously, also speaking with Russia, Assad's main backer, about possible joint operations in the war-torn country.

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

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