Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech at the ruling AK Party's headquarters in Ankara, Turkey, May 2, 2017. REUTERS/Umit Bektas
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The United States is on a collision course with its NATO ally Turkey, pushing ahead with arming Syrian Kurds after deciding the immediate objective of defeating Daesh (ISIS) militants outweighs the potential damage to a partnership vital to U.S. interests in the volatile Middle East. The Turks are fiercely opposed to the U.S. plans, seeing the Kurdish fighters as terrorists. Long before Trump took office, U.S. presidents have grappled with the fragility of partnering with Turkey's government and the Kurds to carry out a Middle East agenda.The Turks fear any weapons the U.S. provides the Syrian Kurds could well end up with their ethnic brethren in Turkey, who've fought violently as part of a separatist insurgency for more than three decades.Trump has gone out of his way to foster a good relationship with Erdogan.Trump congratulated Erdogan.Erdogan may not be amenable to accepting the U.S. military support for the Kurds in a quid pro quo.The U.S., whose forces are sometimes embedded with the Kurds, has much to fear.
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