What results did Erdogan bring from Washington to Ankara?

 What results did Erdogan bring from Washington to Ankara?

On May 15, in the afternoon, Recep Tayyip Erdogan flew to Washington from Beijing,  where he had held several important meetings with the leadership of the PRC, Russia, Greece and other countries within the framework of the international forum ‘One Belt - One Road’, to meet with Donald Trump. Upon his arrival in Washington, the president stopped near the White House in the Blair House, where foreign leaders, heads of governments and delegations usually accommodate.

Trump's meeting with Erdogan began on May 16 at 19:45 Moscow time. The US president warmly met Erdogan at the entrance to the White House, and in a short speech before the beginning of the official bilateral talks said: ‘’We have the successful and strong relations with Turkey and we will make them even stronger. A long and difficult meeting is waiting for us with Erdogan.’’ On the eve of the meeting, the Turkish press found out that Trump spoke approvingly about Erdogan, calling him ‘a wonderful man’ in a telephone conversation with German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel a month ago.

The meeting between Trump and Erdogan lasted two hours. At a joint press conference after the negotiations, Trump called Turkey an important ally, which "during the Cold War, became a pillar against communism and a bastion against Soviet expansion." He recalled the heroic deed of the Turkish soldiers who fought side by side with the American soldiers in the Korean War. The President noted that today America and Turkey are facing a new enemy, combating terrorism jointly and  trying to confront this threat together. In this context, Trump singled out Turkey's large-scale fight against ISIS (a terrorist organization banned in Russia) and the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). But he did not mention the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its military wing ‘Kurdish self-defense detachments’(YPG), which are considered in Turkey as PKK affiliated structures on the territory of Syria, among the terrorist organizations. For more than forty years this terrorist organization has been fighting against the official authorities in Turkey, as their goal is to create an independent state of Kurdistan on the eastern and south-eastern territories of Turkey.

However, Erdogan once again tried to draw attention of the American president to the most painful issue for Turkey - the supply of weapons to Syrian Kurds, who in turn support the PKK. "The consideration of the PYD-YPG terrorist organizations as partners does not correspond to our comprehensive agreement on this issue," Erdogan said. This once again demonstrated that Erdogan could not convince Trump to abandon his decision to supply heavy weapons to Syrian Kurds, which was announced on May 9. Though Erdogan, according to the Turkish press, gave the American president a lot of materials about the links between the Syrian Kurdish organizations PYD and YPG and the PKK  terrorist organization.

According to Turkey, another terrorist organization is the community of supporters of the Islamic cleric Fetullah Gülen (FETÖ), residing in the United States. On July 15 2016, a group of superior military officers made an unsuccessful coup attempt. According to the official authorities of Turkey, this group in the structure of the Armed Forces of Turkey had links with Gulen and acted on his instructions. Immediately after the suppression of the military coup, the Turkish authorities sent a request to the US Justice Department to extradite the Islamic cleric. However, in the documents provided by Turkey, Gulen's participation in the state coup was not proved. As a result, the Islamic cleric and ideologist of the Service (Hizmet) movement was not extradited to Turkey. At a joint press conference, President Erdogan casually touched upon this issue and said that Turkey had brought its expectations on the solution of this problem to the attention of the US President.

The press conference of the Presidents of the United States and Turkey lasted slightly less than 15 minutes, and it was not supposed to answer journalists' questions, although the interest in this meeting was extremely high. There were so many journalists that when the presidents came to them, Trump could not restrain himself and said: "There are many representatives of the press, I'm shocked." The lack of an opportunity to ask questions gives grounds to conclude that the final solutions to the main problems, such as arms deliveries to Syrian Kurds were not achieved, and most likely they will be corrected in the course of the developments in Syria.


Vestnik Kavkaza

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