Turkey and United States agree to start normalizing relations

FSA founder Riyad al-Assaad

Acknowledging that US-Turkey relations have been in crisis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Turkish counterpart said Friday in Ankara that the two countries will create the groups to deal with points of friction.

A prime task of Tillerson was to allay Turkish anger over USA policy in Syria, a dispute which has ignited the biggest crisis in bilateral ties since the 2003 Iraq war.

"We hide in olive gardens with our civilian outfits on to be safe", he said.

Weakening anti-IS efforts Erdogan earlier this month accused Washington of sending in thousands of truckloads and planeloads of weapons to the YPG in Syria, asking why the United States still had a presence there if the jihadists had been defeated. Russian citizens Five Russian citizens were likely killed in a US-led coalition bombing on pro-regime Syrian fighters last week, Moscow said Thursday, acknowledging non-military casualties in the attack for the first time. The first paradox is that the U.S. supports an organization that is a wing of the PKK, which is considered a terrorist entity not only by Turkey, but by the United States itself. [Former US President Barack] Obama said it, but he did not keep his promise.

"We want to consult with Turkey and make sure they at least understand what may be at risk with this transaction", Tillerson said.

We have started to hear more often the term "frenemies" - a word that merges "friend" and "enemies" and demonstrates aspects of both - when describing the current relationship between regional and global powers with regard to their policies in the Middle East.Foreign relations literature is not very familiar with the term because, in worldwide politics, a state either has an ally or an enemy.

"We're going to lock arms, we're going to work through the issues that are causing difficulty for us", Tillerson said at a briefing with Cavusoglu after the two met over breakfast.

According to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Washington's support to the Syrian Democratic Forces, which mostly consists of Kurdish forces, would be limited.

However, he also called on Ankara to show restraint to avoid actions that would escalate tensions in that area.

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Tillerson and Cavusoglu planned a news conference today after the two meet.

Those talks followed a lengthy meeting of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Cavusoglu and Tillerson late Thursday at which a broad range of disagreements were covered.

Turkish Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli said he has asked that the USA end its support for the Kurdish fighters and remove them from a US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, or SDF, that is fighting the Islamic State group in Syria. The operation has been conducted together with Free Syrian Army opposition forces.

At present, Kurdish forces in Afrin appear to be conducting a fighting withdrawal into the mountainous depth of the region where they will be better placed to make a more effective stand in the face of increasing strikes by Turkey airpower and heavy artillery. Ankara considers those fighters a terrorist group.

"Our relations were at a critical turning point", Cavusoglu said.

"We do not use and will not accept the language of threats".

Canikli said he told Mattis that USA support for such militants has enabled Kurdish rebels in Turkey "to grow and strengthen", posing an increasingly "existential" danger to Turkey.

But for Washington, the YPG is an ally against IS jihadists and Turkey's operation is a distraction from efforts to ensure the extremists are permanently defeated. "We will coordinate to restore stability in Manbij and other cities".

Earlier, the US State Department threatened to apply "appropriate measures" against countries which want to buy Russian S-400 systems.

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