A lot to update in Turkey. Turkey, Russia and Iran said they will support the creation of a committee to bring a political settlement to the Syrian civil war. But they haven’t agreed on who exactly will sit on it. The committee will comprise 150 delegates – 50 from the Syrian government, 50 from Syria’s various rebel groups and 50 from so-called “independent” members (i.e., Iran, Turkey and Russia). It’s nothing less than a competition for who will have the most influence in Damascus once the Syrian conflict is over.
Meanwhile, there are signs that U.S.-Turkey ties are improving. The United States has approved a $3.5 billion sale of Patriot air defense systems to Turkey, presumably as an alternative to the Russian S-400 system, which can’t be integrated into NATO air defense systems. (The U.S. has long opposed its acquisition.) Russia is indifferent to the Patriot deal, claiming it won’t affect the S-400 sale. That’s true. S-400s and Patriots are similar but not id