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    Ankara-Washington Relations: 'Turkey is Part of the Picture' - Lecturer

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    The Turkish foreign minister has said that talks between Rex Tillerson and recep Tayyip Erdogan were constructive, and that they have agreed to ‘normalize’ relations. Sputnik spoke with Dr Marianna Charountaki, a Lecturer in Kurdish Politics and International Relations at University of Leicester about US-Turkish relations in regards to Syria.

    Sputnik: Has Operation Olive Branch been successful so far?

    Marianna Charountaki: I would say first of all, that it seems the US-Turkish relations have always recognized by its employees. We shouldn't really forget the Turkey is a NATO ally and a traditional US partner, regardless of the policies of its current leadership — that can always be subject to change in due course. So for now, I don't really think the Olive Branch term is suitable here, as I'm not really sure if there has been any real or major conflict between them in reality, other than the length of discourse.

    Sputnik: What about Ankara's rights to secure their borders, is this something that the US recognizes?

    Marianna Charountaki: I think it would be interesting to say that the US in the way they operate at the moment, they need to keep Ankara in check. Considering the dichotomy that Middle Eastern regions identify by. This is possibly clear also through the US stance of not really interfering directly in the Turkish invasion in the Kurdish areas.

    It seems that the USA's following its additional pattern of a certain type of balance of power that would not let, at the moment, more states in the region to suffer from mobility. Even though there is a load happening at the moment.

    So Turkey is important to the US, however, the US has also demonstrated a direct will to support the Kurd's in Syria. It seems that the Kurd's in Syria are possibly the only ally, at least on the borders, that the US could count on. Vis a Vis the Bashar Assad in Syria. So the extent of the support will be subject to decisions upon the future of Syria overall.

    Sputnik: What about Turkey's position?

    Marianna Charountaki: Turkey, at least for now, is part of the picture, rather than the picture itself. Turkey might have disappointed the US with its stance, as it seems that they have taken a policy that has limits, and possibly sometimes, like now in the Syrian case, there could be a clash in relations. In International law, they're clashing with the UN charter and so on. But what the US recognizes today, rather than Ankara's rights to secure their borders, is how it can possibly put an order in the camp of its alliss, but in reality, the final scenario has not been decided on the US side.

    And this complicates the situation even more, following Trumps election, it seems that the US administration itself really needs to arrange its own domestic difficulties. All this is happening every now and then, with the conflicted positions from all the institutions within the US administration.

    So more or less I think this is the current picture at the moment.

    The views and opinions expressed by Marianna Charountaki are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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