Activists say Kurdish-led forces advance on IS-held Raqqa

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, makes a statement prior to his trip to China, followed by a trip to Washington, in Ankara, Turkey, Friday, May 12, 2017.

The announcement of the US President Donald Trump's decision a week before the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Washington is not a stab in the back of its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation partner, a member of the coalition against ISIS in Syria and Iraq - Turkey, but rather a spit in the face of its charismatic leader. This order changes that, and in so doing, broadens and deepens the relationship of the US military with the SDF in a way that cuts Turkey out of the battle for Raqqa, and subsequent battles to come against ISIS throughout eastern Syria.

Even so, Turkey is a part of the USA -led coalition fighting Islamic State, and US jets conduct airstrikes against the group from Turkey's Incirlik Air Base.

One wrinkle in the hope for expanded business ties is the arrest of Halkbank Deputy General Manager Mehmet Hakan Atilla in March on charges of aiding Iran to circumvent U.S. rules on trade with Washington's regional nemesis.

The goal of those visits was "to pave the ground for fruitful discussions between the two presidents". It said warplanes, thought to belong to the US-led military coalition, hit al-Salihiya village.

Now, the only question is, how far do Trump and Erdogan extend, realizing their geostrategic ambitions? The Syrian leader said "nothing substantial" would come from the talks and that they were "merely a meeting for the media". In a 2015 interview with Breitbart's Steve Bannon - now a White House adviser - the president admitted: "I have a little conflict of interest because I have a major, major building in Istanbul", adding that the tower there was "a tremendously successful job". Their first face-to-face meeting, he said, would be a "milestone" in U.S.

"America is going through a transitional period now", Erdogan said, and Turkey "must be more careful and sensitive".

The United States and Turkey have supported differing rebel groups, while Russian Federation and Iran back President Bashar al-Assad's government.

By associating Kurdish forces with illegal armed groups Turkish president actually accuses the United States of supporting terrorism.

The United States and other Western countries count on the Kurds to chase the Islamists out of Syria.

On Wednesday morning, the Turkish government denounced the US decision. Bozdag reportedly told U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that Turkey would no longer respond to U.S. extradition requests if the administration regarded evidence against Gulen presented by Turkey as insufficient.

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Erdogan portrays USA support for the Kurdish militia - instead of Syrian Arab rebels - as a leftover policy from the Obama administration, which he said had wrongly accused Turkey of doing too little in the fight against Islamic State.

Preparations for the visit were inauspicious, with Washington announcing for the first time it would arm Syrian Kurdish fighters who Ankara considers to be terrorists. The US, Canada and the leading countries of Europe recognized the Kurdistan Workers' Party as a terrorist organization that has been fighting the central authorities of Turkey for more than 40 years by carrying out terrorist acts aimed at military and police forces in the eastern provinces of the country populated mainly by Kurds, for the establishment of the Kurdistan state.

A decision to directly arm the YPG was made by President Barack Obama before he left office, according to Colin Kahl, a former top national security aide to Vice President Joe Biden. Moreover, D. Trump decided not to depart from the policy of destabilizing the situation in the Middle East. Flynn, Kahl noted, was later found to be a paid consultant to pro-government Turkish interests.

The U.S. supports Turkey against the PKK, but now considers ISIS the greater threat to U.S. national security, in part because the PKK does not seek to impose its ideology globally but seeks a unified independent homeland for all Kurds.

The move comes after U.S. President Donald Trump gave his authorization to equip the Syrian Kurdish YPG militia, the SDF's most powerful element, to help in the Raqqa assault.

A Kurdish-led Syrian force backed by the US expects to advance on the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant group's de facto capital of Raqqa in northern Syria this summer, a commander said Friday, following a decision by the Trump administration to supply the force with heavier weapons. The YPG is the main component of the SDF.

"That would be a very good start", Aydin said.

The report further includes testimony from the co-head of the PYD, Salih Muslim, who is quoted as saying, "There is a philosophical, ideological rapprochement between us and the PKK". The letter borrows heavily from talking points the Turkish Presidency used previously.

The problem is, of course, that Turkey considers the Kurds (the PKK in particular) a terrorist organization. "The retaking of this town is therefore a key step toward swiftly freeing Raqqa from Daesh [ISIS] control, which is a priority for France", the French government said. "They've been saying that for a year now". Turkey has since offered to conduct the Raqqa operation with the FSA. "They have worked quite well with American forces and it's the right thing to do", Ernst says. Although the United States did not respond beyond disapproving rhetoric, it is fair to wonder whether Turkey's attack affected the Pentagon's thinking about arming the YPG.

Turkey also retains the option of canceling an agreement that allows US and anti-Islamic State coalition warplanes to fly out of its air base at Incirlik.

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