Skip to main content

Did Tillerson's visit to Turkey relieve tensions?

It is still unclear whether US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s highly anticipated visit to Ankara had a positive impact on Turkey-US relations.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson leaves after a wreath-laying ceremony at Anitkabir, the mausoleum of modern Turkey's founder Ataturk, in Ankara, Turkey, March 30, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas - RTX33DNV

With US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s meeting in Ankara on March 30, he became the first senior official in US President Donald Trump's administration to visit Turkey. The visit took place a day after Ankara declared that Operation Euphrates Shield had ended. Meanwhile, the United States has stepped up an operation to surround Raqqa. Politicians in Ankara wonder whether it is possible for Turkey, which has unsuccessfully tried to convince the United States not to support the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) against the Islamic State (IS), to cooperate with the United States in Syria. What were the United States' and Turkey’s expectations from each other? Will these two strategic partners drift apart or find a common ground?

Tillerson was received by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister Binali Yildirim and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu separately. It was interesting that Tillerson was accompanied by Brett McGurk, the special presidential envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter IS, who was earlier criticized harshly by Ankara for his close relations with the YPG.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.