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Turkey and the United States: Staunch Allies or Rivals?

Reports about the decision of the United States to set up a border force with the so-called “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF) that would operate along the Turkish and Iraqi borders and also inside Syria along the Euphrates river, exacerbated the tension in the already strenuous relations between Ankara and Washington. Turkey regards the SDF that is dominated by the Kurdish YPG as indistinguishable from the PKK terrorist organization. Accordingly, this move of Washington is seen from Ankara’s perspective as adding insult to injury and as a clear sign that the United States will not keep its promise to dump the YPG once the war against ISIS is won.

Turkey’s concomitant military mobilization along the Syrian border and the statements made by President Recep T. Erdoğan hinting at a largescale military operation towards the sectors in northern Syria where the YPG aims to expand its authority may well result in unwanted and, certainly, an undesired confrontation between Turkey and the United States. So, how did Turkey and the United States, which have long treated each other as a “staunch ally” during the Cold War period, come to the point of wrangling and why do they seem to be drifting further apart from each other day by day?

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Mustafa KIBAROGLU
Prof. MEF University

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