US actions are the reason for the “missing trust” between the two NATO allies, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told journalists on Monday. He went on to say Ankara expects “concrete steps” from Washington, aimed at mending ties that have almost reached the point of no return.
urkey’s “ties with the US are at [a] very critical point,” the minister said. The two sides “will either fix these relations or they will break [down] completely,” he added. Ankara was provoked by the mixed signals coming from the US about its support for Kurdish militias in Syria amid the ongoing Turkish military campaign against these forces in Afrin.
The US has tried to prove to Ankara that it takes its interests in Syria seriously. Late in 2017, US President Donald Trump promised to end arms supplies to the Kurds. In January 2018, Washington repeated this promise, when US National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster told Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalin that the US would no longer provide weapons to fighters of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) and the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
At the same time, Washington also made it clear that US troops would not leave Manbij – another northern Syrian town controlled by the Kurdish militias – even though Ankara said it could extend its operation into this area. Nor is it apparently ready to end support for the “Kurdish elements of the SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces],” an umbrella Syrian armed opposition group.