Turkey’s overt worries and the confidence crisis with Washington
On Sunday, the furious Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has expressed anger over Washington’s supports for Syria’s Kurdish forces which he described as being linked to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Erdogan did not stop to expressing his frustration about the US action but called on Washington to choose between Turkey and, as he put it, “Kobani’s terrorists.” These remarks are made by the Turkish president in reaction to a visit made recently featuring Brett McGurk, the United States’ envoy to the coalition it leads against the so-called Jihadists to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units which are holding Kobani town in Syria. Here, the open US’ backing to the Kurds raises many questions about the reality of the Turkish-American alliance and the confidence crisis between Washington and its allies. How the problem between the two sides can be described and why is Turkey worried?
The reality that makes Turkey afraid
In last October, Washington finished construction of a military base in northeastern part of Syria’s Al-Hasakah province, the region controlled by Kurdish Democratic Union Party which is considered by Ankara as a branch of the PKK, an action making Turkey to look with suspicion to this US clear policy, as it raises questions about the future role Washington is willing to play, especially that the US insists on the Kurdish trump card as significant political card. This is what makes Washington bound to supply military aids to the Kurdish forces which are stationed at the Kurdish, Syrian and Iraqi borders. On the other hand, the invitation of the Democratic Union Party to the Geneva peace talks was a violation of a Turkish red line, an issue pushed Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu come against any role given to the Kurdish side.
Turkey sees the Kurds’ aspirations and their struggles as not limited only to their quest for a certain role or independence but the Kurdish efforts expand to the struggling to change the Syrian-Kurdish borders, a plan that would abrogate the Treaty of Lausanne which drew the Turkish borders in 1923. This issue, according to the evidences, represents the major problem between the US and Turkey.
Therefore, the problem gets worse for Ankara when it finds itself entrapped in the current developments as the Turkish experts put it, as according to them, Russia is standing on the northern and southern gates of the Turkish republic. Additionally, Russia it incessantly following its efforts to finish construction of its strategic military bases in Syria’s northern region next to the Turkish borders. At the same time, Turkey has voiced concern over the American military backing which could pave the way for the Syrian Kurds, who are in control of the Syrian far north, to expand their influence westward.
Turkey-US problem is not new
The Current Ankara-Washington sticking point is not seen as new one. According the American newspapers’ reports, specifically the Washington Post and New York Times, the problem, which has caused controversy since early February, has in fact begun to be clear after the US Vice President’s visit to Turkey. During his visit, Joe Biden has raised an array of issues. The divisive issue among the two sides pertained to Turkey’s vision which asserted that it was indispensable for them to empower the Syrian moderate opposition, as Ankara calls them, to push them for gaining control of the western Euphrates regions. This Turkish stance is coming while the US believes that the Kurdish Democratic Union Party has proven its viability in battling the terror group ISIS. This qualification, makes the Kurds, as Washington sees, a closer partner for the American agenda than other Syria’s opposition forces which Turkey is interested to empower and strengthen their capabilities.
Thereby, the Turkish problems with the Kurdish forces in Syria have complicated the US’ anti-ISIS strategy, the Washington Post suggested. The divides have continued to exist over the status of the Kurdish forces which have now turned out as a pivotal part of the US strategy to defeat ISIS in the Syrian territories, the Washington Post continued. But today the situation has become complicated even further. Concerning the reality of Syria, once making a linking point between the West and Turkey, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the terrorist sides have now emerged unable to continue existing, therefore, every side has begun to, separately, consider its own interests. This is the juncture where the Turkish-American differences have originated from. But what needs to be highlighted is that why Washington should press for just its own interests while Ankara stands as a significant ally for the US? What do the Kurds need to know about the US real objectives?
What the Kurds must know about Washington’s intentions
The Kurds believe that bolstering ties with Washington would enable them establish their own independent state. Aside from whether the Kurds have the right to establish their own state or not, the record of the US relations with the allies is a big reason to argue that Washington only works in line with its own interests. If the Kurdish side is trying to coalesce with Washington over a case that is in clear conflict with Ankara’s interests, how would the US consider interests of its ally Turkey?
On the other hand, it should be taken into account that Washington deals with the Kurdish issue only as a trump card and uses it to ensure its strategic interests. Regarding the military support to the Kurdish forces, it must be said that it comes as part of the promised US’ policy which envisions establishing military bases as a prelude for getting its political toeholds. It is the Arch of Crisis”, an area stretching from the Indian subcontinent in the east to the Horn of Africa in the west, in which the US seeks to secure its interests and hold a sway rather than help or defend its allies.
So, the interests conflict between the different sides. This is what directs these sides’ present steps according to their common interests. Washington, however, has not dealt with any of its allies according to the rules of alliance, on the contrary, it treats them based on its pragmatics which see them friends of today and enemies of tomorrow. This is what is being adopted on the Turkish ally, an issue must be focused on by the Kurdish side. Ultimately, The Syrian crisis’ prospective developments would be an outcome of the different players’ policies which, seemingly, would transform the geographical and demographic reality beside the political and military realties.