Erdogan hopeful for breakthrough in dispute on arming Kurds

This frame grab from video provided by The Syrian Democratic Forces a U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish forces outlet that is consistent with independent AP reporting shows Jihan Sheikh Ahmed Spokeswoman for the Syrian Democratic Forces reads a statement aft

The means that Mr. Trump has to find ways to mollify President Erdogan and, to the extent possible, insure that US weapons are not used against our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally.

If Erdogan fails to solve at least one of these two vital for Turkey's national security issues at the meeting with Trump, it will become another round of strengthening anti-Americanism in Turkish society. The shipments were pre-positioned and could be delivered to the Kurdish militia "very quickly", according to U.S. Col. John Dorrian, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Baghdad.

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

Erdogan blames Gulen supporters for a failed coup attempt last July and has conducted a large-scale crackdown on them, drawing criticism from Washington. "Considering cooperation with the YPG as a condition to fight Daesh is in fact destroying the reputation of the USA and the [U.S. -led anti-ISIL] coalition", Erdoğan told a group of journalists in Beijing on May 14.

The objective of those visits was "to pave the ground for fruitful discussions between the two presidents".

"We've been trying to explain this", he said. "Now, we are in a crisis period". Arslan is portrayed by pro-Erdogan media in Turkey as a high-ranking Gulen follower, something he denies. "They presented lot of documents to help clear the USA stance on YPG. 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. Their first face-to-face meeting, he said, would be a "milestone" in U.S. Arming the Kurds while keeping Turkey on board is a gamble.

"America is going through a transitional period now", Erdogan said, and Turkey "must be more careful and sensitive".

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".

The United States sees few alternatives to supporting the YPG, which forms a major part of the Syrian Democratic Forces advancing on Raqqa, if it is to achieve the goal of crushing Islamic State in Syria. The important thing, he said, is that they present a "united front" against terrorism.

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Yet his reaction was relatively low-key compared with previous fiery utterances and Stein said he was "holding fire" until after the Trump meeting. Last month, he called to congratulate Erdogan on winning a referendum, widely criticized by other US allies, that vastly increased presidential power in Turkey. The U.S.is relying on regional allies including Turkey for intelligence-sharing and military assistance as it crafts a Syria policy, particularly as Iran and Russian Federation work to bolster Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.

He committed to backing Turkey's fight against the Islamic State group and a Kurdish insurgency known as the PKK, which the USA, the European Union and Turkey all consider a terrorist organization. The YPG has ties to the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, which Turkey considers a terrorist group. One possibility to explore is whether YPG militia could persuade the PKK to call off its current campaign against Turkey and return to the negotiating table. Both the Obama administration and the administration of Donald Trump regard the Syrian Kurds as the most effective and appropriate combat partner for the U.S. in the fight against ISIS.

Erdogan and other top Turkish officials have pressed for the U.S.to reverse its strategy, however low the prospects of Trump changing his mind. "I want to consider all the information we have received so far (on USA arming Syrian Kurds) as hearsay..." The YPG is the main component of the SDF. The letter borrows heavily from talking points the Turkish Presidency used previously. "Side by side. Now, instead of siding with your ally - which has 800,000 soldiers - you are opting to side with a terrorist organization". Although, in deference to Turkey, U.S. commanders have refrained until now from directly arming the YPG, they say the urgency and magnitude of the Raqqa offensive gives them no choice.

It is true that Turkey faced a fait accompli when the Syrian Kurds declared autonomy along Turkey's southern border, but the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the political wing of the YPG, tried to reach some sort of agreement with Turkey at the beginning.

"They keep saying that time is of the essence for the liberation of Raqqa, that all of the planning is done", the Turkish official said.

Most recently, a CHP MP, Öztürk Yılmaz, criticized the governing party and Erdoğan for failing to stand up against the U.S. At the same time, the party is expected to warn the governing party to avoid putting Turkey in the position of North Korea by antagonizing the global community.

"There is a huge question mark over which way the relationship is going to go", he said. "The United States is trying to substitute a threat, which is against the West's interests, with a threat against Turkey".

"I can't specify exactly; I believe entering and storming the city will happen at the start of the summer", he said in a news conference in Tabqa city, which the SDF took from ISIL on Wednesday.

"This will be the dominant issue in the meeting", according to James Jeffrey, a former United States ambassador to Turkey, cited by The Hill.

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