Semih Idiz | Jun 13, 2018 | 0
Rebuild Sdf and Change the Nature of the Fight#TurkeyUS
Turkey and the US; the two sides seem like on the verge of a crisis for the last year.
It is like “a bomb is gonna blast” -allegorically of course- and the ties between the two states are going to have a break up for good. Most likely this will never happen soon. Actually, there are ways to make two sides start working together again.
Ankara likes playing the Moscow card these days. It is highly unlikely that Ankara wants to ditch the West and Western institutions for good, and align with the Shanghai five or to put it better, enroll in the Russian periphery.
One thing Ankara realized, it can play sides, use it’s cards and get a stronger hand in the bargaining process. However, Ankara does not want to be out of the club, yet remain but insert it’s own terms as much as it could.
With the EU for example, Turkey has discovered playing the refugees card worked well. So, Ankara is using it as efficiently as it can. But then when it comes to business Ankara signals it is eager to make compromises; like making a light amendment to the famous Anti-Terrorism Law. Also, Prime Minister Yıldırım underlines, Turkey and the EU can start over. (Strange enough after the prime minister heralded the probability during his trip to Germany “independent” Turkish judiciary ruled to free Die Welt journalist Deniz Yucel, a German-Turkish national whose imprisonment a year ago has caused a row between Berlin and Ankara.)
Anti-American rhetoric is all over Turkish politics; but politicians including Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are eager to meet with Americans to find a common way in Syria.
It is both easy and hard to work with the existing US administration. On the one hand, the US is so much into domestic politics, it has no time and energy to deal with “naughty” demands and acts of the allies. On the other hand, the administration seems so confused and even sometimes so incapable, even inexperienced. The foreign secretary Tillerson can be live on air, without the American side noticing on the Lebanese TV, waiting for the Lebanese President to arrive, all by his own. Looking desperate and lonely.
After this little scandal, Tillerson traveled to Turkey. He has quite a long meeting with President Erdoğan, lasting more than 3 hours. Since there were no translators in the meeting, it was Turkish minister Çavuşoğlu who translated. Knowing Çavuşoğlu’s ‘immense capability’ in English language, we are left with praying for the gods of diplomacy, to find a middle ground.
The situation in Syria though, may lead Turkey and the US to work together easily. US side claims, Syrian Democratic Forces, which is consisted mainly of Kurdish fighters, can fight with PKK, Turkish side thinks it is impossible. Turkish side suggested a joint operation in Menbij, where Turkey and US can conduct together.
One way of achieving both can be rebuilding the Syrian Democratic Forces. Americans tried to work with the Sunni militia in Syria, though had disappointment. Sunnis were not dedicated to the cause, they were easily changing sides or leaving the fight. Turkey is not happy Americans working mainly with Kurdish groups in Syria. What the two sides can do now, is to include Turkey sponsored Free Syrian Army Fighters to Syrian Democratic Forces. Thus, reshape the struggle in Syria, turn it against Iran. As Turkey and the US can find a common ground as trying to limit the influence of Iran in the region.
Even both Russia And the Syrian regime can be silent allies to this cause. Syria is a slippery ground you never know.