Tillerson, Turkish leaders struggle to resolve Kurds dispute

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Tillerson was received by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu separately.

Turkey on Wednesday announced its military campaign inside northern Syria was over, without specifying whether it will pull its troops out from the neighbouring country.

Though the United States and Turkey share a goal of defeating ISIL in Iraq and Syria, the U.S. has been concerned that Turkey's Operation Euphrates Shield is more focused on preventing Syrian Kurds from forming an autonomous region in northern Syria, along Turkey's border, that could embolden Turkey's own Kurdish minority.

Turkey and the United States disagree sharply on how to combat Islamic State: Washington supports Kurdish militias that Erdogan regards as an arm of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which Turkey and the USA consider a terrorist organization.

Last summer Russian Federation used air bases in Iran to launch airstrikes on Syria, but the operation ended quickly.

"On Monday, Andrew told me he felt the Lord had said I would meet with Sec. of State Tillerson".

Cavusoglu emphasized that the Obama administration's cooperation with PYD/YPG - the Syrian affiliate of PKK - have adversely affected the relations between the two countries.

Following his meeting with Tillerson, Erdogan underlined the importance of working with "legitimate" actors in the counter-terrorism efforts, the Anadolu Agency said.

Sinan Ulgen, chairman of the Center for Economics and Foreign Policy and visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe, suggested Turkey declared its Syria operation was over before Tillerson's visit to stave off claims the decision was made under United States pressure.

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It was not immediately clear if that signified a plan to withdraw Turkish troops, or if operations would continue elsewhere under another name.

"Cooperating with one terror organization in fighting another terror group is wrong and unrealistic, and will impose more risks for the future of Syria", the Turkish minister said, hinting that Turkey wants to get involved in upcoming Raqqa operation but not along with the YPG.

The US hasn't formally announced a decision on who will be part of the Raqqa operation.

Nihat Ali Ozcan, a strategist from the Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey, also highlighted that the tension between the United States and Turkey can not be eased immediately.

The Turkish government blames him for organizing a failed military coup past year, and it wants the U.S.to hand him over. Gulen has denied involvement.

But by the time Trump was inaugurated, Erdogan's tone had changed, and Turkish leaders - who had become disenchanted with the Obama administration - were expressing expectations for a more malleable relationship with Trump. Cavusoglu said Turkey would also take up the issue of the arrest in NY of a senior executive of Turkish state-owned bank Halkbank.

Observers believe that Washington's relations with the rebel group will continue because of its effectiveness on the ground, which has also helped to limit the presence of US troops on the ground.

"With respect to Assad, there is a political reality that we have to accept in terms of where we are right now", White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters at his daily news conference.

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