Ankara is key to strategic rebalancing

Dunya Executive - - POLITICS - BURHANETTIN DURAN

Needless to say, it won’t be easy for Ankara to manage the risks of the U.S. withdrawal from Syria. To coordinate their actions with Washington’s moves, the Turks will have to engage in lengthy negotiations. There will be discussions between official delegations on the status of U.S. military bases and the use of Syrian airspace. Against the backdrop of those talks, Russia and Iran could make new moves. Moreover, Turkey has assumed the crucial responsibility of fighting Daesh terrorists. Although managing the situation in Manbij is relatively easy, the Turks will need to reach an agreement with Trump on the People’s Protection Units (YPG) militants east of the Euphrates. Turkey must not underestimate how much pressure Trump finds himself under from the U.S. public accusing him of “selling out the Kurds”...Trump tackled a key problem, which had been straining the bilateral relationship for years, to facilitate rapid normalization. That move allows the U.S. to create a new balance of power between its traditional allies, including Israel, Saudi

Arabia and Turkey. At the same time, the Trump administration enables itself to meddle in the growing Russian sphere of influence in the Middle East. The Russians, in turn, cautiously welcomed the decision...At the end of the day, Moscow’s real interest in Syria relates to its military bases and the balance of power in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Russians understand that there can be no lasting political transition in Syria without Turkey’s help.

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