Collision or Collusion for Turkey and America in Syria?

By Kyle Orton (@KyleWOrton) on 1 October 2019

U.S. President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the opening ceremony of the NATO Summit in Brussels, July 2018 // Getty Images

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said earlier in September that he would discuss the problems between Turkey and the United States when he met with the U.S. President Donald Trump on September 25, as part of his trip to New York for the opening of the United Nations General Assembly. But neither side has revealed what was discussed and if anything was resolved.

There was no shortage of issues for the two leaders to talk about. There are still Americans imprisoned in Turkey. The U.S. refuses to deport Fetullah Gülen, whom Ankara holds responsible for the 2016 coup attempt. There is an ongoing dispute over the enforcement of sanctions on Iran. Perhaps most immediately and gravely, Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 anti-aircraft system from Russia will, by the letter of American law, incur sanctions that could do serious harm to the Turkish economy.

Still, there are creative ways around most of these issues. For example, the U.A.E. has strong economic ties with Iran, and the U.S. abides it. Proposals have already been put forth to finesse the S-400 issue, and so on. The crux of the U.S.-Turkey dispute, and the one where interests are radically incompatible, is Syria.

Read the rest at The New Turkey

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