US Secretary of State Tillerson in Turkey for talks

Speaking to reporters before the trip, a senior State Department official said the Raqqa attack must be "militarily viable" though the US was aware of the Turkish government's concerns about American support for the Kurdish fighters, whose separatist aspirations Turkey fears. "There are hard choices that have to be made", Tillerson said, without elaborating. "They are hard decisions that have to be made".

The YPG has been the best USA ally on the ground in Syria, but the Turkish government considers it an arm of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the Kurdish militant group that Ankara is at war with at home. By supporting the Kurds in Syria, Russia and the US can exert influence over the Kurds, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, use their influence with the Kurds as political leverage on the Turkish and Syrian regimes. But all signs point to Washington continuing to bet on the Kurds.

One of Turkey's main grievances with America is the policy started by the Obama administration of supporting Kurdish fighters in Syria who are fighting IS forces.

Addressing a longstanding thorn in Turkish-U.S. ties, Turkey's foreign minister Thursday stated that Washington is coming to agreement with Turkey's view that the terrorist PKK and its Syria wing, the YPG, are indistinguishable. He said both countries would keep working to resolve the issue while insisting there was "no space" between the allies as far as their joint resolve to defeat IS.

Supporters of the Vatan Partisi, or Patriotic Party, shout slogans and hold signs condemning "American imperialism" as they protest the visit to Turkey by Secretary of State Rex Tillerson outside the US consulate in Istanbul on Thursday.

Syria and the fight against ISIL was one of the topics. Turkish humanitarian state institutions, as well as NGOs, helped to build and restore schools, hospitals, and bakeries to meet people's basic needs.

Cavusoglu claimed that the Trump administration and the USA military have accepted that the YPG, the dominant force in the US -backed Syrian Democratic Forces, is intrinsically linked to the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers' Party.

"The Government of the Republic of Turkey and the Turkish people expect from the USA the immediate extradition of Fethullah Gulen", Turkey's embassy to the us said in a statement earlier this week.

"Syrians from Turkey have returned".

Tillerson met Prime Minister Binali Yildirim in Anakra today and emphasized Turkey's important role in regional security. Life is back to normal. In an interview with Bloomberg a year ago, he said the USA was "doing wrong before the eyes of the world" and endangering Turkey's future by giving them weapons. During the operation, Turkey seized control of Jarablus on the Euphrates river and pushed the Islamic State group away from a 100-kilometre border stretch. The operation, known as Euphrates Shield, was a success, Yildirim said.

Yildirim and Tillerson spoke about ongoing efforts to clear Daesh from Syria and Iraq during their meeting. The Obama administration long complained about Turkey's inability to seal its frontier to prevent extremist recruits from reaching Middle East battlefields, and the frustration has carried over under President Donald Trump as the US looks to deal IS death blows in Iraq and Syria.

Another sore spot is Washington's noncompliance with a request to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish Muslim cleric living in exile in Pennsylvania.



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