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Erdoğan and Trump agreed to disagree

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President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent visit to Washington has become an immaculate manifestation of how little Turkey is aware of the current political reality of the United States. If you watched Turkish television in the last couple of days, you have probably thought that U.S. President Donald Trump himself and his comrades beat their brains out to come up with some big concessions so that Erdoğan would not kill the so-called strategic alliance over their unease with the supply of heavy weapons to the People’s Protection Units (YPG). Not quite!

First of all, reversing a presidential order to provide combat vehicles and anti-tank weapons to the YPG in preparation of an operation to liberate Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) stronghold of Raqqa was a non-starter for Washington. Despite Erdoğan’s reversal rhetoric for domestic consumption, Turks were well aware that was a done deal. In fact, the decision was conveyed to the Turkish side in person and real time during three top Turkish officials’ precursor visit to the U.S. capital last week. And clearly Erdoğan had no intention of picking a fight with Trump as he did with Obama in his last two years in office.

According to Ankara, the declaration of arming the YPG ahead of the visit was a tactical move masterminded by the Pentagon for sealing the Raqqa plan, in order to avoid Erdoğan convincing Trump to proceed with the Turkish proposals instead. If Trump was not already in deep trouble because of his unconventional and controversial diplomatic dealings with Russia, perhaps the “personal connection” factor would have worked better. Unfortunately there was little room for that on May 16. Not only because of the narrow window of 22 minutes for their one-on-one meeting, but rather because Trump’s mind was set on finding a spin to shut the story of him sharing highly classified intelligence with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

Trump’s heavy record of going off script and ignoring core U.S. principles in conducting foreign affairs have unsettled a variety of state actors since he took office. A probe into his former national security advisor Michael Flynn, his dismissing of former FBI chief James Comey........

© Hürriyet Daily News