10:09 GMT24 January 2021
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    Erdogan’s recent ultimatum to the US to choose between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds as a partner on the ground in Syria is a “dead-end for Ankara”: the US would not dump this group for Turkey’s sake and the demand will only strain relations between Ankara and Washington, according to both Turkish and American media.

    Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently issued an ultimatum to the US with a demand to choose between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds as a partner in Syria. This was his major mistake, which has “effectively reduced Turkey to the level of a group that Ankara considers to be a terrorist organization,” according to the leading Turkish news source Hurriyet Daily News.

    It is a dead-end for Ankara, it explains, as it is unrealistic to expect Washington to sever ties with the Syrian Democratic Unity Party (PYD), which Ankara lists as a terrorist organization alongside the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which it is fighting in southeastern Turkey.

    This clearly is not going to happen because the Syrian Kurdish YPG (People's Protection Units), the military wing of PYD, has proved to be the most effective force on the ground aiding the US and other Western members of the coalition against Daesh, also referred to as the Islamic State (ISIL/ISIS).

    The US would not dump this group for Turkey’s sake.

    “The sincerity of Turkey’s contribution to the fight against ISIL, on the other hand, was questioned for a long time by its closest allies. Until this group started staging deadly attacks on Turkish soil, Ankara’s position was that the real problem in Syria is Bashar Assad and if he is gotten rid of, the Daesh problem would solve itself automatically,” it says.

    Its view is echoed by The Voice of America, which also suggests that the US will not reduce its support for the Syrian Kurdish groups on the ground.

    “With Turkish political leaders designating the PYD and PKK as greater threats than Daesh, analysts say relations between Ankara and Washington are becoming increasingly strained,” it says.

    Those tensions have led to a redefining of the relationship between the two.

    "Washington sees Ankara as a friend, but in the eyes of Washington, Ankara is an untrustworthy, unreliable, unpredictable friend," the outlet quotes Kadri Gursel, a political columnist for the website Al Monitor as saying.

    "Believe me, Ankara and Washington are not on the same page, in terms of the Middle East."

    The website also notes that another of Washington’s major concern is a possible partnership between Moscow and the Syrian Kurds, if the US drops its supports for the group.

    “Washington, for its part, continues to call Turkey a key partner in its fight against Islamic State. But observers say that with Washington’s priority being the defeat of Daesh, and with Syrian Kurds one of the most effective anti-Daesh forces in Syria, Turkish-US relations appear destined to remain strained for some time to come,” it finally states.

    Related:

    Turkish FM Says US Must Choose Between Turkey, Syrian Kurds
    Turkey Warns US of Kurds’ Attempts to Create 'Corridor' in Syria
    Settlement of Syrian Crisis: 'US Needs Both Turkey and Kurds'
    Tags:
    relationship, ultimatum, partnership, cooperation, Daesh, Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey, Syria, US
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