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    US President Donald Trump's meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Washington on May 16, 2017

    Trump-Erdogan Meeting: Washington 'Should Choose Between YPG, Turkey'

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    The recent summit between the leaders of the US and Turkey has not borne any fruit, much to the disappointment of Turkish experts and politicians. Speaking to Sputnik, Turkish political scientist Serhat Guvenc said that Erdogan's American tour was nothing but a simple courtesy visit.

    The Tuesday meeting between US President Donald Trump and his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan has fallen short of the Turks' expectations, Turkish experts told Sputnik Turkey, adding that Ankara has failed to convince the US to stop arming the Kurdish paramilitary groups.

    Washington and Ankara are still unable to find common ground on the status of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), which is regarded by Turkey as an affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), outlawed in the country.

    For its part, the US leadership views the YPG as one of the most capable forces fighting Daesh (ISIS/ISIL) in Syria.

    "The decision to provide heavy weapons to the YPG made by Trump ahead of his meeting with Erdogan meant that the topic was closed for discussion during the talks," said Turkish journalist Ahmet Ali Guller, highlighting that the meeting actually lasted for only 20 minutes.

    The Turkish journalist recalled that the latest Trump-Erdogan summit has become the shortest in the history of American-Turkish relations.

    According to Guller, Erdogan should have canceled his visit in the wake of Washington's move to arm the YPG.

    "It was necessary [for Erdogan] to express his protest against this decision," the Turkish journalist believes, "At least he should take some [retaliatory] measures: for example, to close the Incirlik air base… He could use Incirlik as his trump card to solve the controversy over the YPG."

    What is more embarrassing, Guller pointed out, is that Washington keeps providing military assistance to Turkey and its bitter enemy, the YPG.

    "The US is arming the region's opposing forces. This is a very big problem," he told Sputnik.

    "The fact that Erdogan went to the US for the sake of a 20-minute meeting, can be considered a 'win' only for [the Turkish president] himself. Posing for pictures with Trump, he forced his ally to recognize the results of the referendum in Turkey, which caused so much controversy," Guller underscored.

    Turkish political scientist Serhat Guvenc echoed Guller.

    "Obviously, this was nothing but a simple courtesy visit. If we assume that the duration of the meeting is the criterion of success, then a 20-minute meeting is very short," Guvenc told Sputnik.

    Speaking to Sputnik Turkey, representatives of the country's two opposition parties couldn't conceal their discontent with the outcome of Erdogan's visit to Washington.

    "On the eve of this visit, it was expected that the [Turkish] president will be able to make progress on the issue of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and [its military wing] the YPG. This visit was presented as a turning point for the relations between Turkey and the United States. But during the meeting no substantial progress was made either with regard to the Syrian Kurds or Gulen's extradition," Ozturk Yilmaz of the Republican People's Party (CHP) said.

    Mehmet Gunal of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) shares a similar stance.

    He drew attention to the fact that any concrete results of the meeting have yet to be seen.

    "Only mutual requests were made," Gunal told Sputnik.

    Although the US cooperation with the PYD and YPG still remains the apple of discord between Ankara and Washington, the US leadership evaded the issue and had not made any clear statement on this topic, he underscored. Meanwhile, the US continues to provide heavy weapons to the Syrian Kurds, he added.

    "Yesterday our chairman noted that if American officials are to make a choice, then they will have to choose between two options: either they choose to develop the relationship with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK); or they begin to cooperate with Turkey as a real ally, taking into consideration the issues critical for [Turkey], and cooperating with [the Turks] in their effort to eradicate the 'terrorist corridor' [in northern Syria]. Otherwise, it will be impossible to continue the talks not only about a strategic partnership but also about maintaining healthy relations between Turkey and the United States," Gunal said.

    For her part, Turkish journalist Asli Aydintasbas considers the recent meeting between the leaders of the US and Turkey as a success.

    According to Aydintasbas, Trump's positive attitude toward Erdogan offers new opportunities for Ankara.

    "If we compare Trump's cold behavior toward German Chancellor Angela Merkel with his benevolent behavior towards Erdogan we will see a certain harmony between the two leaders," she said in an interview with Sputnik.

    While the US and Turkey are yet to reach common ground on the role the YPG plays in the US war on terror in the region, it appears that Ankara may reconcile itself to Washington's decision to use the Syrian Kurds as its fighting force to retake Raqqa from Daesh, she believes.

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    Tags:
    US foreign policy, US military aid, The Syrian war, Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (Republican People's Party, CHP), Nationalist Movement Party, Daesh, Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), Europe, Turkey, United States
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