President Donald Trump ostensibly removed the single biggest obstacle to improving U.S. ties with Turkey. During a December 2018 phone call, the U.S. president offered his Turkish counterpart, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a political windfall by deciding to withdraw American forces from Syria, telling him, “You know what? It’s yours. I’m leaving.” … So why the continued tensions? While Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria is widely regarded as a victory for Erdogan, the move has so far done little to appease the Turkish invective against the United States. In fact, it has only sharpened the fundamental disagreement over the future of the Kurds.
Aykan Erdemir is a former member of the Turkish parliament and a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. @aykan_erdemir. Merve Tahiroglu is a research analyst at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. @MerveTahiroglu.