Saturday, June 9, 2018

Bilateral plans for Syria raise hopes for US-Turkish relations

Kılıç Buğra Kanat,

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Following meetings between top diplomats from Turkey and the U.S. in Washington last week, there is cautious optimism for a "road map" for the future of Manbij and U.S.-Turkish relations. In the aftermath of one of the most significant crises in the history of Washington-Ankara relations, the endorsement of a road map should be considered a step forward. ...

Now that the two sides have agreed on a road map, some questions still need answers regarding the future of U.S.-Turkish cooperation in Syria. First, there is the critical question of implementation. ... [S]ome commitments and agreements have yet to be implemented by the U.S. ... Brett McGurk [Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS] caused several significant public diplomacy [JB emphasis] disasters in bilateral relations between Turkey and the U.S. Following the announcement of the road map, several things remain unclear: What roles will different institutions and actors in U.S. foreign policy play? Will they comply with the road map or make it more complicated? There have already been reports about the lack of enthusiasm among some officials who reportedly said the "implementation of the road map would be dependent on conditions on the ground." Given the frequency of inter-agency disputes lately, the process will be carefully monitored by the Turkish side. If implementation of the road map is impeded, U.S. President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will need to step in and demonstrate the country's commitment to the bilateral ties. ...

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