Turkey to rename street outside U.S. embassy ‘Olive Branch’

Turkey will change the name of a street where the U.S. embassy in Ankara is located to ‘Olive Branch’, matching the operation its military is conducting in Syria’s Afrin region, Yeni Şafak newspaper reported.

The proposal will be presented to the Ankara mayoral council later on Monday, mayor Mustafa Tuna said, according to the newspaper. The street is currently called Nevzat Tandoğan, in respect for a former mayor and governor of Turkey’s capital.

Political tensions between the United States and Turkey have intensified since Ankara launched the operation in Syria against Kurdish forces loyal to Washington in the fight against Islamic State (ISIS). Turkey says the militants are indistinguishable from fighters of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), recognized as terrorists by Turkey, the United States and European Union.

U.S. Secretary Rex Tillerson is due in Ankara later this week as part of a tour of the region. He is expected to meet with senior Turkish officials, including Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu.

Çavuşoğlu said on Monday that Turkish-U.S. relations could break down entirely unless the United States forces Kurdish militants to vacate the Syrian enclave of Manbij, which lies adjacent to Afrin and also houses hundreds of U.S. troops who train and advise the Kurds in the operations against ISIS.

Tuna is a member of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party.