Opinion:  The United States’ two-faced strategy of dealing with the Turkish national security concerns

Opinion: The United States’ two-faced strategy of dealing with the Turkish national security concerns

Opinion: Fedaa Ghussain

Looking back at the historical relations between United States and Turkey that evolved in the post-World War II period, and Turkey’s entrance into World War II on the side of the Allies in February 1945, one could see how Turkey became a member of the United Nations. The diplomatic relations between the countries began to deteriorate first and foremost during the Cyprus Crisis back in 1974 where an arms embargo was imposed on Turkey for three years, which was considered the most critical deterioration in relations between both countries.

In 2003, as Turkey refused to allow the U.S. to use Incirlik Airbase for the invasion of Iraq, despite the fact that the Turkish parliament endorsed the US request later, and the US used it at that time. The diplomatic relations between both countries have worsened following the failed military coup attempt in Turkey in July 2016 as the country′s foreign policy has gradually re-orientated towards seeking partnerships with other powers such as Russia. Moreover, the lack of confidence in the current American administration and the continuing diplomatic crises and deadlocks have also worsened the situation politically, especially the issue of the American pastor, Andrew Craig Brunson, who was freed recently after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

What is going on between Turkey and the US now? In relation to the recently announced military operation against the PKK-affiliated (People’s Protection Units) (YPG) terrorist group in eastern Syria, which is considered the third terrorism operation by Turkey in two years. The intention of carrying out the operation was serious, and the justification was strongly related to the national security of Turkey. During the G20 summit talks and discussions, another development between the two presidents, Donald Trump and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, took place. The Turkish president insisted on moving forward with the third operation as the US showed a new friendly behavior towards Turkey. Another move reflecting the fact that YPG wouldn’t survive without the US support in Syria, the American leadership decided to withdraw their troops from Syria and improve the diplomatic relations with Turkey all the sudden. All of this proves the theory that the United States is trying to gain more time for YPG in Syria.
It even looks more controversial looking at the two-faced strategy that the US is adopting in dealing with the Turkish national security issues. On one hand, the US is justifying its support for the PKK and its affiliated parties in Syria by saying they are supporting whoever fights ISIS. At the same time, the US expresses its support for the operations launched by Turkey against terrorism to calm down the Turkish government. meanwhile it looks like Turkey has eaten the American cheese by postponing the operations in east Syria against YPG. According to president Erdoğan, “Now the goal is to resume diplomatic relations in a healthy manner. The diplomacy traffic with the U.S. had not reached to a point we want but now it has also come, is coming, to the desired point.” In a later tweet by Trump, he said: “We just had a long and productive call with president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey. We discussed ISIS, our mutual involvement in Syria and the slow and highly coordinated pullout of U.S. troops from the area. After many years they are coming home. We also discussed heavily expanded trade”. Turkey has put the political, diplomatic and economic promises as a priority over rushing the operation to protect its national security against the threat that is coming from the PKK affiliated parties in Syria. Is Turkey acting according to the new rules in the region, following the US withdrawal. The coming days will bring us an answer.

Erdogan emphasized that Turkey has no eye on the Syrian territories and it only aims at protecting its territories against threats emerging from terrorist groups in Syria.
U.S knows very well that Turkey will not give up on its national security concerns for the sake of some political gains.
This will probably be clearer in the coming period or once the military operation of Turkey begins in Syria.

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