Trump meets Erdoğan
As the only Western head of state, Trump has congratulated Erdoğan on his victory in the referendum and remained silent about the Turkish president's crackdown on the opposition. Nevertheless the two leaders still have their differences in the run-up to their meeting on Tuesday: the arming of Syrian Kurds and the conflict over the extradition of the preacher Gülen have strained their relations for months. Who should make concessions to whom?
Time to seek reconciliation
Ankara has manoeuvred itself into a dead end with its Syria policy and Erdoğan should try to make up for this now, columnist Nuray Mert writes in Hürriyet Daily News:
“I think the major problem arises from the long-running refusal of Turkey's rulers to acknowledge the facts of the Middle Eastern situation. The fact is that Turkey's insistence on playing a major military and political role in Syria and Iraq is not viewed favorably by its Western allies. Besides, Turkey's wish for a role at the expense of the Kurds further complicates the problem. ... Yıldırım might have stated 'we are not in a position to declare war on the U.S.,' but it also means that we would be on the verge of conflagration if it were possible to challenge the world power. Our only hope is that Erdoğan makes it up with Trump by then.”
Shake off Obama's legacy
According to Fahrettin Altun of the pro-government daily Sabah, by contrast, US president Trump needs to urgently rethink his Syria policy:
“There's no doubt that this meeting is an important opportunity to normalise Turkish-American relations. ... The US's policy of arming the [Syrian-Kurdish] YPG and keeping Turkey calm dates back to the Obama administration! It will be seen as a serious political weakness on Trump's part if he fails to develop his own policy on Syria and Turkey and - also as a means of thwarting domestic attacks - puts his political understanding at the mercy of Obama's bureaucrats. Even Trump's key foreign policy strategy of renewing ties with traditional allies would immediately suffer a major setback. That would mean a loss for the Trump administration and the US. I hope Trump doesn't strike out in the wrong direction.”