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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

'Neo Ottoman Conqueror' Turkey accepts US demand to use Incirlik Base for coalition airstrikes.

'Neo Ottoman Conqueror' Turkey accepts US demand to use Incirlik Base for coalition airstrikes. (Stratfor).

On Tuesday, the United States and Turkey began talks involving special U.S. presidential representative Gen. John Allen and a host of U.S. and Turkish military and intelligence officials. The two countries have struggled to forge a common strategy in response to the Syrian conflict and a burgeoning jihadist presence perhaps best exemplified by the Islamic State. The United States has long wanted Turkey — a NATO member and arguably the most capable military power in the region — to step up its role against militants, much to Ankara's consternation.

At the meeting Tuesday, Washington and Ankara made progress on several key points, including the United States using Turkey's Incirlik air base in Adana as a staging ground for coalition airstrikes in Syria, and discussions about Turkey's role in combating the Islamic State.

But more important, the talks covered Ankara's plan for establishing a "safe zone" inside Syrian territory to support and protect rebel groups that are fighting not only jihadists, but also Syrian government forces. No plans have been finalized, and the U.S. delegation is expected to remain in Turkey through Wednesday night.

Still, the talks are one of the strongest signals yet that Ankara may be ready to take on a larger regional role and cooperate more closely with the United States on opposing militant threats such as the Islamic State. Moreover, troop movements indicate that Turkey is serious about at least controlling its border with Syria, disrupting Islamic State supply lines and maintaining an option to move into Syria if needed.

Turkey will thus seek U.S. backing for initiatives that will run contrary to regional Arab ambitions. And though Ankara and Riyadh have streamlined their support for rebels in the short term and are united by a common goal of defeating al Assad, they have strongly competing visions of Syria's future.

Even as Washington has to balance its Syria strategy with its negotiations with Iran, the United States will struggle to facilitate a larger regional role for Turkey and not disappoint Sunni Arab states that have already balked at the premise of a U.S.-Iran rapprochement. Despite these difficulties, however, it appears that at least Turkey is seriously reconsidering what its role will be in the emerging Middle East balance of power, with signs pointing to more actionHmmmm.....It seems like Erdogan's BFF Obama has agreed with Turkey's 'occupation' plans for Syria, let the carve up of Syria begin, May god have mercy on the Kurds. Read the full story here.

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