The fact that Turkey forced the PKK out of Manbij in cooperation with the U.S. and without having to conduct a military operation there can be counted as success.
In order for Turkey and the U.S. to improve their strategic partnership, cooperation on the Manbij issue needs to be spread to other issues in Syria.
This is the first comprehensive counter-terror operation against the PKK. This time, the military strategy is not only targeting to eliminate PKK terrorists but also aiming to clean and hold the territory where the PKK has any presence.
“Losing Turkey by keeping it out of the JSF also means that the U.S. would weaken its own strategic objectives in the Middle East.”
Does the Manbij deal have the ability to reform bilateral relations between Turkey and the U.S.?
“Only after such a tri-partite cooperation of Turkey, Iran, and Iraq, can the PKK finally be cleaned off from Qandil.”
The recent agreement over Manbij between Turkey and the U.S. is a hopeful development; yet other important issues regarding Ankara’s security concerns and peace in Syria still remain.
After the partnership between Saudi and the U.S., relations strengthened during the Salman period and Riyadh began to support the most secular groups in Syria.
By partnering with the YPG on the ground, the U.S. lends credibility and legitimacy to YPG forces that goes beyond narrow assistance. It also empowers the YPG against other local groups, including those that are not aligned with the PKK. In the end, giving up armed struggle against Turkey becomes less attractive and unnecessary for the PKK and its allied groups.
While the Manbij agreement will not cure all problems between the U.S. and Turkey, it is definite that this deal will open a new page in bilateral relations.