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Erdogan to discuss Syria, Iraq and Gulen's extradition with Trump

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An ally against terror? Not really

Erdogan met at the White House with President Donald Trump, and both called relations between the two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies strong. Your most capable ground partners for the United States are the Syrian Kurds, but those Syrian Kurds are linked to Turkish Kurds who are now fighting an insurgency inside of southeast Turkey.

Tension was expected already for the Erdogan talks, after the US announced last week that it would arm Kurdish Syrian militants to help them fight IS. "We are not declaring that we will send weapons to the Kurdish organizations like some of the other countries".

Still, the Turkish president made it clear the Trump administration's decision to arm one group of Syrian Kurds fighting the Islamic State, the YPG, would "never be accepted". And it argues weapons provided to the YPG could ultimately make their way the PKK Kurdish separatist group inside Turkey to be used for terrorist attacks there.

According to the White House, Trump and Erdogan are expected to "discuss how to further strengthen our bilateral relationship and deepen our cooperation to confront terrorism in all its forms".

And yet, for Washington, the campaign against Raqqa - the "capital" of IS - takes precedence over all political considerations. The Pentagon then moved US troops and armored vehicles along parts of the Syrian border to act as a buffer between Kurdish and Turkish forces. Most of the city has ready fallen with heavy casualties on all sides and severe destruction. For Russia, meanwhile, such a move would be more than OK. The two countries are working together to fight ISIS in Syria, but Turkey doesn't think much about a recent American change in policy.

Acutely aware of how the USA and the worldwide community have condoned the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) running an army of foreign Shia fighters to support Syria's Bashar al-Assad in return for the nuclear deal, the Sunni-Arab majority of the region will look on this "very selective" US war on terrorism as yet another "tool in the box" to target them. So why is President Erdoğan's visit to Washington being packaged as if it is the most critical meeting of his career? The implied support for Erdogan's autocratic approach indicates a real apathy for the deterioration of the rule of law in Turkey - and beyond.

Russian President Vladimir Putin waded into the spat on Monday, helpfully noting that he sees no reason to to arm the Syrian Kurds, a jab against Washington. He is also arguing that Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar can offer more resolute military backing than YPG. Mr Erdogan threatened that similar action might happen "at any time".

Erdogan told reporters last week that he would "present some documents and information" on Gulen at the Trump meeting.

As Putin said, Russian Federation is not supplying armaments to Syrian Kurds.

Citing the "continuing erosion of human rights and the dramatic decline of democratic values in Turkey", a bipartisan group of U.S. Representatives is calling on President Trump to "be candid and consistent in our support of democratic values and respect for human rights". This makes it hard for the Turkish army and air force to escalate its attacks on the YPG.

Erdogan "wants people in Washington, where the Turks believe they're getting [an] unfair hearing, to believe that he can be a constructive ally", Cook said. The decision to arm the YPG drove Ankara ballistic. With all of this criticism, do we expect any conversation about human rights or about the approach he's taken in Turkey? The city of Manbij in northern Syria is a living example of what might befall other cities where the US continues helping the PYD to stretch its territorial control.

Patrick Cockburn is a Middle East Correspondent for the Independent. "In my opinion, the United States of America should not be an incubation center for FETO", he said.

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