On his first visit to Ankara, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had nothing but nice things to say about Turkey, praising the Erdogan government and pledging US support for them in the future in fights in northern Syria, while cheering them as a bulwark against Iran.
Turkish officials weren’t nearly so upbeat or welcoming to Tillerson, and spent the whole day laying out a laundry list of complaints about US behavior, mostly centering on attempts to get the US to extradite exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen, and US military support for the Syrian Kurds.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made complaints about the Kurds a key part of his statements after the meeting, insisting he urged Tillerson to ensure the US was working with “right and legitimate actors” in Syria. Turkey considers the Syrian Kurds “terrorists.”
US reactions to Turkey have been largely consistent between the last two administrations, with US officials making such state visits and heaping praise on Erdogan, getting publicly berated for not acquiescing on every little thing, and ultimately leaving with no real changes in policy.