Turkey eyes rapid action in US ties in Trump era

Turkey eyes rapid action in US ties in Trump era

Hande Fırat - ANKARA
Turkey eyes rapid action in US ties in Trump era Turkey will contact the new Donald Trump administration over the weekend to focus on “intense issues” such as Syria and the upcoming meeting in Astana, along with bilateral relations, presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın has said. 

“As their teams are shaped … we will be able to see the future a little more,” the spokesperson told a group of journalists, noting that Ankara and Washington will discuss each and every issue in detail. 

“What I see is that the Trump administration has a perspective that takes into account and guards Turkey’s sensitivities with regards to the region, as well as our security concerns,” he said. 

The preparation for the road map will be influenced by the discussions of Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, who was to participate in the swearing-in ceremony later on Jan. 20, he said. Ankara expects a visit by Trump to Turkey following a phone conversation between the new U.S. president and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, he said. 

Iraq agrees with Turkey’s sensitivities about Tel Afar and Sinjar to a large extent, the spokesperson added, noting that al-Hashd al-Shaabi had not entered Tel Afar. Both the Iraqi central government and Iraqi Kurds are also uncomfortable with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) presence in Sinjar, he claimed. 

“As we maintain security in Mosul after eliminating Deash, we can sit and discuss with Iraqis about the status of the Bashiqa military camp and negotiate its function from then on,” he said, using an Arabic acronym for ISIL.

Kalın said Turkey was not pursuing a negotiator role, but a role as a guarantor and a facilitator for the upcoming Astana talks aimed at settling the Syrian crisis.  

Turkish PM: We wish Mr. Trump success

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım reiterated on Jan. 20 Ankara’s key demands from the new U.S. administration under Trump, hours before the 45th president’s inauguration, particularly underlining the extradition of Pennsylvania-based preacher Fethullah Gülen, accused of masterminding a July 2016 coup attempt.

“May it be beneficial. We wish Mr. Trump success. There are high expectations in many parts of the world from the new administration. The leading countries of the world, the U.S. and Russia, bear a significant responsibility for global peace, tranquility and security. We expect them to give more support to Turkey’s efforts at making peace in the region permanent,” Yıldırım told reporters in Ankara after Friday prayers on Jan. 20.

He highlighted what he described as the “established” relationship between Ankara and Washington, while also noting recent “mistakes” between the two countries.

“We believe this situation will be ended by the new administration. We hope steps will be taken primarily to extradite [Gülen], the architect of the cowardly coup attempt, and to stop giving support to terror organizations in the name of fighting DEASH,” Yıldırım said, referring to U.S. support for the Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Ankara says is the Syrian Kurdish affiliate of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

“Tough days are ahead of Mr. Trump. The decisions and steps that he will take in terms of transforming the global economic crisis into global prosperity will be significant,” he added.