Turkey Issues Ultimatum to Washington Ahead of Tillerson Visit

Turkey Issues Ultimatum to Washington Ahead of Tillerson Visit

Editor: Draco Copper | Tactical Investor

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Turkey is calling on the U.S. to take concrete steps to address its concerns about American support for a Kurdish militia in Syria or face a breakdown in relations. The stepped up pressure comes ahead of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s visit to Turkey next week. The two NATO allies have been at odds over Washington’s support of the Syrian Kurdish militia, the YPG, in its war against Islamic State militants. Ankara considers the YPG terrorists linked to a longtime Kurdish insurgency in Turkey. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expected to have a list of U.S. concerns for his Turkish counterpart when he visits Turkey later this week as part of a tour of the wider region. Read more

Until the visit, U.S.–Turkey relations could be described as frustrating, and on the part of the United States inconsistent, as there were promises given to us on various occasions since last May that were not fulfilled. The visit was important because it was an earnest and honest visit, with Tillerson making every effort he could to try to reach an understanding in which Turkey’s concerns and frustrations could be met by the American side.
Rex Tillerson said at the press conference, the priority on the agenda is Manbij. There are various options that will be discussed but it is not appropriate to disclose these options at present. The Afrin issue is very sensitive and the main reason we launched “Operation Olive Branch” is because the YPG/PKK has increasingly been using Afrin as a launching pad for attacks against us, as well as using it to infiltrate terrorists who can then cross the border to Turkey or lodge themselves in areas close to the border. The U.S. side absolutely understands Turkey’s military objectives there, so I am sure they will come up with options to address our security concerns regarding to Afrin. Read more


Turkey accuses the U.S. of arming the YPG Syrian Kurdish militia, which Ankara links to the banned PKK, a Kurdish organization that has been waging a decades-long deadly insurgency inside Turkey.

For Washington, the YPG is a key ally in the war against the Islamic State and affiliated groups. At a press conference with Cavusoglu, Tillerson urged Turkish forces to ease up on their ongoing offensive against the YPG in Syria’s Afrin enclave, which has been under the control of Syrian Kurds.

“As to Afrin, we call upon Turkey to show restraint in its operation and to minimize casualties to civilians and to actions that would escalate tensions in that area,” – Tillerson said.

The U.S. top diplomat also raised human rights concerns and the ongoing detention of U.S. citizens and local diplomatic employees in Turkey under emergency powers introduced after a 2016 coup attempt. No breakthrough was expected from Tillerson’s Ankara visit, but both sides appear to remain willing to try to avoid a collapse in relations or military confrontation. Read more

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