The leading figures of the anti-Turkey lobby in the U.S. are quite distressed these days, arguing that the U.S.-People’s Protection Units (YPG) relations are undergoing a serious confidence crisis. According to them, the reason is that the U.S. did not oppose Turkey’s operation in Afrin. Particularly, rumors that the U.S. will assure Turkey that it will withdraw YPG elements in Manbij to the east of the Euphrates River have much bothered the YPG and the Democratic Union Party (PYD).
Even the U.S.’s airstrike on the Assad regime forces has not been enough to eliminate this confidence crisis. What needs to be done is to block Turkey and become involved in Operation Olive Branch! Currently, the anti-Turkey lobby in the U.S. is doing its best to ensure this.
On the one hand, they are using the U.S.’s contention with Russia and Iran, emphasizing that Turkey’s rapprochement with the two states is a major threat to U.S. interests. On the other, they continue to lie that Turkey is targeting civilians. Not surprisingly, they are not bringing up the YPG’s release of 400 Daesh members from prison on the condition of “fighting against Turkey” and enabling 500 terrorists to enter Afrin using civilians as a shield in the name of marching to support Afrin. Their purpose is to mobilize the U.S. against Turkey.
On the other hand, following Operation Olive Branch, the PKK-YPG relation has blatantly come to light. For they know that they cannot conceal this relation, they have come to use two different discourses now. First, even if the PYD is the Syrian branch of the PKK, it has a sort of autonomy in Syria. It is acting not only in line with the PKK’s demands, but also in the framework of Syria’s realities. Second, the PKK is not a real threat to the U.S. and there is no reason to consider it to be a terrorist organization. The U.S. had declared the PKK a terrorist organization in order to get Turkey’s support during the new anti-terrorism campaign that it launched after the 9/11 attack.
As can be seen, the enemies of Turkey in the U.S. are seeking to exonerate the PKK now, arguing that the PKK has just targeted “military elements” so far and inadvertently led to civilian casualties in the course of these attacks. This is called hostility.
What matters for us is the question of to what extent this understanding will prevail U.S. foreign policy. How can we know this? From the rhetoric of the U.S. authorities? Of course, not. We have clearly seen in the past five years that those discourses count for nothing. What the U.S. needs to do to convince Turkey now is to withdraw its support for terrorist groups in the field and to support Turkey’s fight against terrorism.
Well, is it deemed likely? Unfortunately, not. Then, as President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says, we have no choice but to take matters into our own hands, and fight the terrorist organizations threatening our national security, unity and peace with our own means. Of course, we will not abandon diplomacy. However, the past five years have taught us that diplomatic efforts on the table alone have no meaning and value without resorting to hard power in the field.
[Daily Sabah, 13 February 2018]