TILLERSON IN ANKARA




İlknur Şebnem Öztemel-TDO- U.S. Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, came to Turkey in order to meet with President Erdoğan and his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. It will be the highest-level meeting between Turkish and American officials since President Donald Trump took the office in January.

There are various issues that tighten the relations between Ankara and Washington, two allies of NATO and stronghold of friendship.

Turkey and US have disagreements and un–responded questions about numerous subjects.  Their main opposition is the issue of Kurdish militants settled in Northern Syria. Washington seriously demands their attendance to the Raqqa operation and used them in the siege of Mosul regardless of Turkish warnings. Turkey argues that YGP and PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) that killed thousands of Turkish civilians and soldiers for about 30 years have organic relationships and define YPG as a terrorist organization. It has been asserted by several Turkish and foreign experts that the US is working on a demographic project that praises Kurds on the ground. It has been reported that the flag of KRG has been flown in Kirkuk where a big number of Turcoman live.

Secondly, their bilateral relations worsened as the USA does not take the issue of Gulen seriously. Fethullah Gulen who is living in Pennsylvaniais responsible for the failed coup attempt on 15th July 2016. After several negotiations led by both Bekir Bozdağ, the Minister of Justice, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Çavuşoğlu and presentation of concrete evidence about the link of Gulen with the coup, to American judges, no serious action has been imposed on Gulen yet. Gulen is rumored to sell his farm house in America, move to Canada and re-organize his terrorist structure, specifically in Europe.

Moreover, there are very interesting events happening that might affect about 60 years of alliance and partnership. In the previous week, USA made a decision to ban the acceptance of electronics bigger than acell phone to planes, departing from several European cities including İstanbul, referring to newly gathered security information. Ankara tried to change American decision as it would decrease the income of Turkish Airlines.  Officials of the firm declared that they would try to compensate this by having a new service of freeWi-Fi and bringing tablet PC to everyone, in the planes that move in the route. THY has increased the number of its clients drastically, especially in the market of transit travels.

Secondly, a senior executive of Turkish state-owned bank Halkbank arrested in the USA, relevant to the claims as he was helping Iran to violate U.S. sanctions against the country. Similarly, Reza Zarrab, a famous businessman, imprisoned on charges of funneling money to Iran, in violation of U.S. sanctions, last year. The former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara, fired by Donald Trump. Additionally, it has been reported that RudyGiuliani who is an ally of U.S. President Donald Trump, has been added to Zarrab's defense team.

In the light of these developments, bilateral relations between two states and the influence of it over the region is a matter of curiosity. What is happening in the Middle Eastnow is very significant for the balance of international relations. Iran, as an isolated statefor about 30 years, is now increasing its sphere of influence both economically and politically. Pro-Iranian forces are fighting in Syria and Yemen. Russia is ready to compensate the vacuum that happened after the ‘’ Spring’’ and US semi-withdrawal. Also, Putin is a man of interest that swear to make historical Russian dreams true.

Furthermore, Albania as another Muslim member of NATO has close relations with Turkey. Besides, Incirlik military base, located in Adana, is the main hub of military operations to the Middle East.

It has been scheduled that Tillerson will move to Brussels tomorrow. Therefore, authorities have a short time to persuade each other.

Despite Turkish perspective on the issue, US provided aid to Kurdish militants relying on small groups may be logical in asymmetric war.Supporting a specific group on the ground under the topic of “democracy" may fit the nature of interior politics of America, for influencingregular people but does it worth to be enemies with a state of thousand years? Will it be enough to make the USreach its long-term goals for the region? Is it OK under these circumstances?  States can make mistakes. Nevertheless, the results would be felt for centuries. Nothing is sure about bilateral relations for the relations between two states. Hope for the best of Turkey...