U.S. assures Turkey of its support in fighting PKK

Cheryl Sanders
May 28, 2017

"We are not going to declare war on the United States, this is not the case".

By associating Kurdish forces with illegal armed groups Turkish president actually accuses the United States of supporting terrorism.

It began with protests against Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad but has since widened into a multi-front conflict that has drawn in world powers.

But the main subject on Turkey's mind is the People's Protection Units, the military arm of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, which is the primary US proxy in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria.

U.S. assures Turkey of its support in fighting PKK

"From our side, we want to keep good neighborly relations with Turkey", Redur Khalil said in a series of messages from Syria. Erdoğan said Turkey was training Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters, who, with the support of the Turkish military, pushed ISIL away from the Turkish-Syrian border in the Euphrates Shield Operation. Ankara said the plan was "unacceptable" and a threat to its national security. Turkey backed off its confrontation with Russian Federation because of severe economic pressure from Putin, and Erdogan announced at Sochi that relations have been entirely restored. At various levels, Turkish officials have reportedly been told to "think big" and control the group.

Officials have suggested it could step up air strikes on PKK bases in northern Iraq, or YPG targets in Syria. But he asserted the US and Turkey's mutual commitment to ending Syria's conflict.

Moreover, and uncharacteristic for Donald Trump's White House, the decision on the Kurds seems to have been taken carefully. A number of Turkish journalists with known ties to policymakers in Washington urged the Turks to engage the YPG.

"It doesn't change the fact that when we see ISIS fighters on the battlefield and have a clean shot at them, we will continue to take it".

Ahead of Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan's meeting with Donald Trump in Washington next week, US defense secretary Jim Mattis met with the Turkish prime minister Binali Yildirim in London on Thursday to assure Ankara that the weapons provided to the Kurds would not be used against Turkey and "reiterated USA commitment to protecting our North Atlantic Treaty Organisation ally", White said.

To be clear, none of the USA proposals make sense to Turkey because the idea that the Americans will support Turkey against the PKK in exchange for Ankara's tacit support for the US plan to arm the YPG is out of touch with reality.

Turkey has been angered by a US decision to provide arms to Syrian Kurdish fighters that Turkey considers terrorists and a serious threat to its security.

The official said Turkey would leave open its options to attack the YPG itself - as it did when Turkish warplanes last month struck YPG and PKK positions on the border, killing 20 YPG fighters only miles from U.S. Special Operations forces and almost causing an open breach with the Pentagon. The YPG, like the PKK, receive their orders from PKK headquarters in Qandil, Iraq.

Washington sees the YPG as distinct from the PKK and as a valuable partner in the fight against Islamic State.

U.S. Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East, said approximately 70 Islamic State fighters had conceded to the SDF's terms, which included dismantling bombs surrounding the dam, surrendering their heavy weapons and withdrawing all remaining fighters from Tabqa. Tensions got worse in April, when Turkey launched airstrikes against the YPG.

Other reports by iNewsToday