US-Turkey ties are strategic and lasting: US official

US-Turkey ties are strategic and lasting: US official

Cansu Çamlıbel – WASHINGTON
US-Turkey ties are strategic and lasting: US official

Relations between the U.S. and Turkey are “strategic and lasting” while Washington’s relations with the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) are “temporary, transactional and tactical,” U.S. State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary Jonathan Cohen has said.

“The reason for our relations with YPG is that we feel there is no alternative in Syria. We needed a partner in the field to drive the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant [ISIL] out of Raqqa and the current power capable of doing that was the YPG,” Cohen said during the Washington-based Middle East Institute’s (MEI) eighth annual conference on Turkey.

“As I said before, our relationship with the YPG is temporary, transactional and tactical. Our relationship with Turkey, on the other hand, is strategic and lasting,” he added.

"Our relations with the YPG are going to transform in the transition stage from the war in Syria to a period of stability. We are now in that process. This is a transformation that we see right now. It is very difficult to guess how this will happen and when, but it will change in time,” Cohen said.

He pointed to “two main problems” ties between Ankara and Washington at the moment.

“The first one is the arrest of American citizens in Turkey and local personnel at the U.S. representative offices, and the decision to suspend visas caused by this. The second one is the U.S.’s relations with the YPG,” Cohen said.

Cohen has been the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State covering Cyprus, Greece, and Turkey since August 2016.

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