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    What's Behind the CIA Director's Visit to Turkey

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    CIA director Mike Pompeo is reported to have arrived in Ankara to meet with Turkish authorities, with the Syrian crisis and joint anti-Daesh activities expected to be high on the agenda. Defense analyst Koray Gurbuz told Sputnik Turkey that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan should not agree to Washington's proposals, calling them "a trap."

    Gurbuz, an expert at the Bilkent University and the former Chairman of the Turkish Veterans Council, suggested that Pompeo and Turkish authorities will also discuss Washington's support to the Syrian Kurds and the extradition of reclusive Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen, whom Erdogan has blamed for the botched attempt to remove him from power. The unsuccessful military coup shook Ankara and Istanbul on July 16, 2016.

    "US President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan covered these issues during a telephone conversation held on Tuesday," he said. "Turkey has been engaged in a fierce fight with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Ankara views the Democratic Union Party (PYD) as its offshoot in Syria. Americans have provided weapons [to the PYD]. They have de facto 'deceived' Ankara."

    The PYD, a leading Kurdish political party in northern Syria, and its armed wing, known as People's Protection Units (YPG), have been one of Washington's key allies on the ground. The YPG are part of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which have been instrumental in liberating the cities of al-Shaddadi, Manbij and Tel Abyad.

    Ankara maintains that the PYD is affiliated with the PKK, a left-wing organization engaged in a decades-long struggle with Turkish authorizes.
    Trump and Erdogan are said to have agreed to conduct joint anti-Daesh operation in the Syrian towns of of Raqqa and al-Bab.

    "Clearly, Americans will not send their forces to take part in these operations. They will instead mobilize those forces that they support on the ground. These are primarily Kurdish self-defense forces. As a result, Turkey will be caught in a difficult dilemma since it views them as terrorists. This will create major challenges [for Ankara], both at home and abroad," he said.

    Gurbuz insisted that Turkish authorities should reject Washington's proposals with regard to liberating two Daesh strongholds if the YPG are brought in to take part in them.

    Turkey "must refrain from conducting any joint military operations with the United States. Ankara should instead coordinate its campaigns with President Bashar al-Assad's forces and Russia. Turkey should not fall into the trap set by Americans," he said.

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    Tags:
    Syrian Kurds, military operation, Syrian crisis, Syrian conflict, Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Mike Pompeo, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Donald Trump, Turkey, United States
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