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The US says it is not troubled by Turkey’s rise to prominence

16 7 3

Last year around this time, many in Ankara and government officials were very hopeful that the election of Donald Trump as the new president of the United States would work in the best interests of Turkey with the projection that the new administration would be more cooperative in the extradition of Fethullah Gülen and on Turkey’s concerns over the role of the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria.

In the first days and months of Trump’s presidency, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan had preferred to blame former U.S. President Barack Obama and some leftovers from his administration in the service of the current government, particularly on issues regarding Syria.

However, Erdoğan’s meeting with Trump on May 16, 2017 showed that using Obama as a scapegoat was a futile effort. It was Trump who signed a presidential decree for officially delivering weapons to the YPG despite the Turkish government’s consecutive warnings, just a week before his meeting with Erdoğan at the White House. Again, it was Trump’s administration who did not even move its finger on Turkey’s demand for the extradition of Fethullah Gülen.

The outlook of bilateral ties between the two countries was worsened in recent months because of ongoing court cases in both countries, restrictions of visa proceedings and tensions on Jerusalem. Yet, there is not much hope that this picture will soon be reversed in 2018.

“We tend to focus a lot on crises, drama and tension in the relationship. But there are also positive aspects of the Turkish-American partnership,” a senior U.S. official recently told me while speaking on troubled bilateral ties.

The cooperation on the fight against terror, joint steps to strengthen economic and trade ties are some examples of the everyday engagement of American diplomats, law........

© Hürriyet Daily News