Rex Tillerson is in Turkey to attempt the impossible. He has, nontheless, put on a good show of unity with the Turkish government. He stated that he and Mr Cavusoglu (the Turkish Foreign Minister) agreed that their countries' objectives for Syria were "precisely the same - there is no daylight between [them]". That is true in so far as both want to see Bashar al Assad deposed and exiled to Moscow or wherever. The devil is in the details, however, and there is no resolution of those where the Kurds are involved. The meetings between diplomats have put the confrontation in Manbij on hold, but for how long and to what end. Erdogan and the Turks view the conflict with the Kurds as an existential struggle so there is no give in their position. Erdogan deliberately blew up the Kurdish peace process for internal political reasons a few years ago as I have previously addressed, so he has no fallback position. The US has no tenable presence in Syria without the full backing of the Kurds. If we intend to have any voice in the fate of Syria and with it the disposition of forces across the Middle East, we must maintain our current arrangements. Adding to the mess is the US reliance on a major military air base in Turkey at Incirlik. The Turks could demand our departure as a last act of defiance. That would surely mark the end of Turkey's presence in NATO. The Turks have not said a word about it, so that is apparently still a bridge too far.
How the US and Turkey manage to paper over this intractable situation, assuming they can, will be an interesting lesson in diplomacy.
The Nato allies said joint teams would meet shortly to work through their diplomatic differences, including a dispute over the city of Manbij.Syria conflict: US and Turkey agree to avert Manbij clashhttp://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-43084963
...Speaking at a joint news conference in the Turkish capital, Ankara, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu said working teams would tackle disputes which have led to heightened tensions between the two powers.
"Manbij is going to be given priority in our joint working effort," Mr Tillerson said.
The BBC's Mark Lowen in Istanbul says there was, it seems, no breakthrough in these talks but an inching forward from what Mr Tillerson called a "crisis point" in US-Turkey relations.
...Mr Cavusoglu said the mechanisms they had agreed upon were aimed at "finding real outcomes - we are not wasting each other's times".
On a note of discord, the foreign minister said the US had dishonoured a previous pledge to make sure Kurdish forces pulled back east across the Euphrates river.
He warned that "if the YPG takes hold of these areas [west of the river], stability will never enter this area. We will work towards making sure this will never happen."