Er­do­gan and Trump

The Miracle - - Middle East - By:Menekse Tokyay ANKARA:

Amid bi­lat­eral ten­sions over var­i­ous is­sues, US Pres­i­dent Trump and Turk­ish leader Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan spoke by phone on Satur­day and ac­cord­ing to the an­nounce­ment made by the Turk­ish pres­i­den­tial of­fice, they agreed to pro­mote re­gional sta­bil­ity and to boost bi­lat­eral ties. The two lead­ers also agreed to meet in New York dur­ing the UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly due this month. The two coun­tries are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing dif­fi­cult re­la­tions at present, marked es­pe­cially by Wash­ing­ton’s sup­port for the Syr­ian Kur­dish mili­tia, YPG, as a lo­cal partner in the bat­tle against Daesh; Ankara views YPG as a ter­ror­ist group. An­other dis­agree­ment be­tween Turkey and the US per­tains to the re­quested ex­tra­di­tion of Penn­syl­va­nia-based cleric Fethul­lah Gulen, who is con­sid­ered by Turkey as the mas­ter­mind be­hind last year’s failed coup at­tempt. Er­do­gan re­cently slammed the US over an in­dict­ment of Turkey’s for­mer Econ­omy Min­is­ter Zafer Caglayan on charges that he had con­spired to help Iran vi­o­late US sanc­tions by il­le­gally trans­fer­ring hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars. Er­do­gan sees the in­dict­ment as a mis­take and as a po­lit­i­cal move against Turkey. Claim­ing that Caglayan had not en­gaged in any wrong­do­ing, Er­do­gan told re­porters as he was de­part­ing for Kaza­khstan, “There are bad smells com­ing from be­hind this.” “I hope we’ll get a chance to dis­cuss this is­sue in the United States. You may be a big na­tion, but be­ing a just na­tion is some­thing else. Be­ing a just na­tion re­quires the le­gal sys­tem to work fairly,” he said. In ad­di­tion to that, a US Se­nate com­mit­tee on Thurs­day ap­proved a mea­sure to block the US gov­ern­ment from sup­port­ing weapons sales to se­cu­rity forces protecting Er­do­gan. The move was in re­sponse to the vi­o­lence against pro­test­ers that was car­ried out by Er­do­gan’s body­guards dur­ing his visit to Wash­ing­ton this spring. A to­tal of 19 peo­ple, in­clud­ing 15 Turk­ish se­cu­rity of­fi­cials, have been in­dicted and this fur­ther com­pli­cates bi­lat­eral ties. Ex­perts note that th­ese key is­sues will top the agenda and will surely be raised by Er­do­gan dur­ing his up­com­ing meet­ing with Trump. Ozgur Un­luhis­ar­cikli, Ankara of­fice di­rec­tor of the Ger­man Mar­shall Fund of the United States, thinks that the alliance be­tween the two coun­tries has been re­duced to trans­ac­tional co­op­er­a­tion based on mu­tual dis­trust and griev­ances. Even so, for Un­luhis­ar­cikli, there are sev­eral is­sues on which the two coun­tries have mu­tual in­ter­ests and other is­sues where they need to avoid col­lu­sion. “At this point, re­mov­ing the Al-4aeda pres-

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