Tillerson says Assad's fate up to Syrian people

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in Ankara Turkey

During his meeting with Turkish officials Tillerson discussed Turkey's fight against Daesh, the PKK, the Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) and the extradition of FETO leader Fetullah Gulen who resides in the USA state of Pennsylvania.

Before leaving Turkey, Tillerson also met with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for over two hours as well as Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. "Let me be very frank, it's not easy, they are hard choices that have to be made".

Adelman says Turkish announcement also takes attention away from the fact that many extremists entered Syria from Turkey.

"What really matters in Turkey right now is the feeling that Erdogan wants to win the upcoming election, and this could be, and probably is, tied to that, to say, 'You see, I won".

Addressing reporters after meeting with Cavusoglu, Tillerson said it was up to Syria's people to determine any future role for Syrian President Bashar Assad amid the country's long-running civil war.

US officials say Tillerson, who has said the No. 1 priority in Syria for the Trump administration is defeating ISIS, will emphasize the importance of Kurdish YPG forces in the Raqqa offensive.

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The YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces have been Washington's principal partner in the anti-ISIL fight in northern Syria, vexing Ankara.

"The fact [Trump] is not putting pressure for domestic reforms, liberal reforms or attention to human rights [in Turkey] certainly removes one obstacle and certainly makes Trump seem like somebody that Erdogan could more easily work with", Leslie Vinjamuri, an associate fellow at Chatham House's US and the Americas tells Newsweek.

The YPG has been the best USA ally on the ground in Syria, but the Turkish government considers it an arm of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), the Kurdish militant group that Ankara is at war with at home.

Also hanging over Tillerson's trip was Turkey's demand for the U.S.to extradite Fethullah Gulen, the cleric Turkey blames for instigating last year's failed coup. Turkey has accused Gulen of spearheading a failed coup against Erdogan's government last summer. The group has been fighting for 30 years against government forces in southeastern Turkey. American officials have said the evidence provided by Turkey so far is insufficient to make a legal case for extradition.

Turkey has pressed the United States to disavow itself of the partnership it has formed with Kurds in the region. Cavusoglu said Thursday that he expects the USA will be taking "concrete steps" toward Gulen's extradition to Turkey.

He said that the US wants to increase the $17.4 billion trade volume with Turkey in 2016 in the long term, especially in energy, health, and technology. "Euphrates Shield has ended". In the months since Trump took office, the United States and Turkey have managed to avoid any open confrontation over their differences, with Turkish officials showing optimism that the relationship could only improve.

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