U.S. should give Turkey’s Erdoğan a sobering talking to, think-tank says

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson should not try to appease Turkey on his visit to Ankara this week, but give Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan an honest and sobering talk to convey the uneasy mood in Washington towards its NATO ally, two experts at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies think-tank said.

Tillerson is due to visit Turkey this week at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries with the biggest armies in NATO. Turkey launched an offensive three weeks ago against a Syrian Kurdish force that the United States has helped arm and train to fight Islamic State (ISIS). U.S. officials are concerned Turkey’s operation could lead to new areas of conflict in Syria and divert Kurdish forces away from the battle against the remnants of ISIS.

"The secretary of state should not expect a warm welcome in Ankara. Yet appeasing Erdoğan will do nothing to prevent him from perpetrating further outrages. Instead, the secretary should convey clearly the mood in Washington and the stakes involved. After all, an honest and sobering talk is what Erdoğan does not get at home," wrote Aykan Erdemir and Merve Tahiroğlu.

The pair urged the Tillerson to remind Erdoğan that the U.S. Congress has become increasingly frustrated with Turkey and some congressmen have called for sanctions against the country for purchasing Russian air defence weapons and jailing two U.S. citizens on charges of aiding terrorism.