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Turkey & the US: Far from Allies in Syria

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The recent agreement between the US and Turkey regarding the creation of a “safe-zone” in Syria notwithstanding, the underlying divergence of interests between the two countries continues to exist in a far more explicit way than meets the eye. As such, while the agreement apparently seems to imply that both NATO-members have agreed to cut a territorial chunk from within Syria’s main territory, the very reasons why these states have done so differ markedly and so do the long-term implications of such a zone. To begin with, we must not lose sight of the fact that Turkey’s advocacy of a “safe-zone” does not rest on the same logic as it did back in 2013-2015 during the Obama administration. Back then, Turkey was a staunch rival of Assad and wanted to send him home. It opposed Russian military involvement in the conflict and supported US operations. This, however, has changed and the Tukey of 2018-19 is a key member of Astana peace process, a multilateral platform that includes Russia and Iran and aims to create peace in Syria without sending Assad home. Needless to say, Turkey, to the detriment of the US/NATO, is already strategically allied with Russia.

The US is, needless to say, deeply aware of the shift that has taken place in Turley’s foreign policy orientation ever since the ill-fated coup attempt of July 2016. That their relations remain far from strategically strong, despite the........

© New Eastern Outlook