Two NATO allies will maintain the status quo, despite the ongoing differences
Despite continued tension in bilateral ties, Turkey and the US are expected to manage to get on without spoiling relations, as Anakra continues its military buildup against the Washington-backed Kurdish militia in Syria.
“No matter how serious the disagreements are, Ankara would seek in the end to strike a bargain with the US,” Hasan Koni, an analyst on international relations with Istanbul Kultur University, told Xinhua.
Ties between the two NATO allies have been strained mainly because of the US support for the Kurdish militia in Syria, which is seen by Ankara as a terror group. Ankara’s refusal to scrap a deal on Russia-made S-400 air defense system and to comply with US sanctions on Iran are other major thorns in bilateral ties.
The concept of identity, of which religion is a major component, is a central theme in Koni’s line of reasoning, as he argued that people who grew up with an Islamic lifestyle would be naturally inclined toward the West because of its more sympathetic attitude toward the Islamist ideology.
Ankara would therefore prefer to avoid disrupting ties with Washington, said Koni.
Turkey has been threatening a crossborder operation against the Kurdish militia in northeastern Syria despite the US commitment to protect its Kurdish ally.
No crisis should be expected between Ankara and Washington, Ilhan Uzgel, an analyst on international relations who taught at Ankara University, told Xinhua.
The two countries would manage to reach a compromise as in the past, he said, maintaining that the image of a crisis in ties is actually misleading.
Both Koni and Uzgel believe the US may say “yes” to a limited Turkish incursion into Kurdish-held territory, where Ankara would set up a buffer zone for its own security.
Such an operation, though limited, would play into the hands of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan prior to the local elections in late March without essentially changing the status quo in the Kurdish-held territory, both analysts said.
Meanwhile, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has underlined Ankara’s determination to eliminate the Kurdish militia, saying his country may start operations in the event that the US should take its time in withdrawing troops from Syria.
The US has several thousand troops and over a dozen military bases in Kurdish-held areas in war-torn Syria.
Ankara originally threatened to launch the military offensive last month, but decided to put it off after US President Donald Trump unexpectedly announced a withdrawal of US troops from Syria.
Statements by top US officials in the past week indicated, however, that Washington would withdraw troops only after making sure Ankara would not attack the Kurdish fighters.
In a sign of protest, Erdogan refused to meet with Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton, who discussed Syria with other Turkish officials earlier this week in Ankara.
“In the wake of the unsuccessful Bolton’s visit to Ankara, Turkish-American relations are probably headed toward another impasse,” said Faruk Logoglu, a former Turkish senior diplomat.
“Whether the two allies will be able to avoid a new crisis will depend largely on the next moves by Erdogan and Trump in Syria,” he told Xinhua.
The article is from the Xinhua News Agency. opin[email protected]altimes.com.cn