US News and World Report quotes Vice President and Rafik Hariri Center Director Francis J. Ricciardone on why, despite Turkey joining the anti-ISIS fight, a true alliance between Turkey and the United States to tackle the Syrian problem is still evasive:
“So far, the only thing that’s clear is we want to destroy ISIS. We’ve been really unclear with respect to Assad, and that’s made it difficult for the Turks who are also against Assad,” says Francis Ricciardone, who until last July was the US Ambassador to Turkey.
The Turks’ most eager pleas to the United States during the ambassador’s tenure in Ankara focused on establishing some form of safe-zone between warring Syria and Turkey. Such a plan remains ambiguous, and without a clear policy for the future of Syria, the Turks worry myriad extremists would continue to fill the political vacuum.
“They used to warn us: ‘Look, if you don’t get involved, if you don’t secure this, we’re going to be seeing the Taliban on the Mediterranean,'” says Ricciardone, now with the Atlantic Council.