They have become frenemies.Turkey and the U.S. were allies throughout the Cold War era and their relationship is often described as a "strategic alliance" or a "model partnership". But, he also stressed the long-standing nature of the relationship. The two countries have different - if not competing - motivations and priorities in the region in general, and in Syria in particular.
A prime task of Tillerson on his trip to Ankara is to allay Turkish anger over U.S. policy in Syria, a dispute which has ignited the biggest crisis in bilateral ties since the 2003 Iraq war.
Ankara views the YPG as an extension of the PKK, a group designated terrorist by Ankara, US, EU which has fought a decades long conflict with the Turkish state.
But on Sunday a senior official working with Mattis said Washington had concerns that some of the proposed initiatives risked "pulling resources or capabilities away from NATO". However, Tillerson later said that Washington had "never given heavy arms" to the YPG and there was therefore "nothing to take back". However, despite previous pledges made by the U.S. and several warnings from the Turkish side, it is business as usual between the USA and the YPG/PYD.
Tillerson is in Ankara to discuss growing tensions over the United States military's anti-ISIS alliance with the YPG, a Kurdish militia in Syria. At one point the USA publicly vowed the Kurds wouldn't keep Manbij, but now, years later, U.S. forces are in Manbij, with the Kurds, preparing for a Turkish invasion. "We will defend ourselves".
After talks in Ankara, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced the creation of new "mechanisms" to improve the relationship, starting with the question of American support for Kurdish rebels in northern Syria. However, the reality is that, while Turkey and the U.S. are not enemies in the Middle East, they are fast moving to opposite edges. Turkey considers them a "terrorist" group linked to Kurdish rebels fighting inside Turkey.
The official, who declined to be identified because the information had not been made public, said the United States was considering the proposal, which was made to U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson during his two-day visit to Ankara.
The Turkish foreign minister, in turn, said the two sides agreed on the need to normalize their ties. After McMaster's meeting with his Turkish counterpart, Cavusoglu warned that Turkey-US ties had hit a critical point and would either be repaired or be completely damaged.