US, Turkey agree to normalise relations - Turkish FM

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Let us start with Manbij.

Washington and Ankara are making an effort to mend relations, strained over the former's support of Kurdish forces in Syria. The term frenemies is especially helpful when explaining America's relations with its allies in the region, specifically Turkey, with whom it shares significant differences.

Litany of problems The squabble over Syria is, however, just one of a litany of issues burdening Turkey-US relations. But, he also stressed the long-standing nature of the relationship. The United States has armed, trained and aided YPG fighters with air support and special forces, as the main ground force in its campaign against ISIL in Syria. Ankara considers those fighters a terrorist group.

Cavasoglu said other working groups would tackle the question of the YPG and of Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish cleric who lives in Pennsylvania and who Erdogan's government accuses of plotting a coup.

Tensions surged when the Turks threatened to move toward Manbij, raising the possibility of a clash between North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies - Turkish troops on one hand and on the other, United States troops and the Kurds.

Turkey has said Kurdish fighters have travelled through Manbij to re-inforce Afrin, the Syrian Kurdish canton to the west of Aleppo invaded by Turkish troops in January.

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"It's geographically important. That's why the United States has left a troop presence in Manbij to ensure that that city remains under control of our allied forces and does not fall into the hands of others", Tillerson said. "We will defend ourselves". He is due to meet the foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, on Friday. The US aims to preserve its position in the region with goals that seem to be considered as paradoxes by Turkey.

The US also has soldiers in Manbij, which was taken from the Islamic State group (IS) by forces led by the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) in 2016. Moreover, America says it is against the Syrian regime, but at the same time supports the YPG/PYD, which receives support from the regime.The more frustrated Ankara gets with these contradictory United States policies, the more America is pushing Turkey closer to Russian Federation.

Tillerson said issues around Manbij would receive priority in the talks, and said he accepted that Washington had not yet fulfilled some promises to Turkey, without giving details.

Speaking at a joint news conference with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Cavusoglu also said Tillerson's visit marked a critical point for the future of the relations between two North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies.

After McMaster's meeting with Cavusoglu warned that Turkey-US ties had hit a critical point and would either be repaired or be completely damaged.

Weakening anti-IS efforts Erdogan earlier this month accused Washington of sending in thousands of truckloads and planeloads of weapons to the YPG in Syria, asking why the U.S. still had a presence there if the jihadists had been defeated.

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