Donald Trump’s intentions to repair relations with Turkey are very timely, the Office has told Turkey it will move to rein in Kurdish fighters who have been the backbone of the US campaign against the ISIS in Syria.
The senior Turkish official said that the first step should be a withdrawal of the Kurds from the Syrian town of Manbij. This small town is 25 miles from Turkey’s border but became a symbol of the fevered competition for territory and influence in northern Syria among the United States, Turkey, and other regional powers.
The US-Turkish relationship has been on a downward trajectory for several years, the most recent months were extremely hard. While the US pledged if carried out, a long-standing demand by the Turkish government and fulfil a promise first made by the Obama administration to keep the Kurdish forces east of the Euphrates, the Kurds helped to take Manbij from the Islamic State in 2016 and have been there since.
Under these circumstances, Turkey preferred not to be tolerated for any development that strengthens Kurdish political and military groups in Syria, especially along the lengthy border Turkey shares with Syria.
The first session was held Thursday and Friday in Washington. This tentative warming of relations, however, is already coming at a cost to the United States. Saying they feel let down by Washington, U.S.-allied Kurdish forces said last week they are withdrawing from the front lines of the fight against the Islamic State in southern Syria to join the battle against Turkey in the north.