US reliance on dealing with the YPG, and endangering its relationship with Turkey in the process, can be overcome through a few collaborative steps.
The US military dispatch to Syria over northern Iraq and news that the US and the YPG/PKK terrorist organisation are preparing to build a military base in the Air Diwar settlement of Hasakah came to the fore last week. In a sense, the Biden administration has started to take its first steps.
Interestingly, this comes after the following statement from last week after the meeting between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu: "Both sides have promised to strengthen cooperation for the political solution to the dispute in Syria."
So, I cannot help but ask why this cooperation does not include the militaries. What's more curious is that Defense Minister Hulusi Akar and his US counterpart, Lloyd Austin, have yet to have a phone meeting and the US has cut the flow of intelligence on the PKK to Turkey.
So why does Washington persist with supporting the YPG/PKK terrorist organization?
The primary reasons include a conflict of interest between the US and some neighboring countries, including Turkey; the ongoing fight against Daesh (the biggest reason); the unease felt by the US due to the presence of Iran and Russia; and support for refugees.
In addition, let us also remember that a certain section in the US capital dreams of a so-called "Kurdistan." Further, the two previous administrations have always argued that the best partner in the fight against Daesh is the YPG/PKK. In 2019, Joe Biden opposed Turkey's operations in Syria, arguing that the YPG had been betrayed by the Trump administration.
So what can Turkey do?
Turkey can suggest to the US that if they give up on YPG, they can fight Daesh together, and can also establish a platform for the YPG to be internationally recognised as a terrorist organization.
The unease felt by Turkey regarding the YPG can be explained to the members of the coalition against Daesh, of which NATO is a member of, and support can be requested.
Crucially, result-oriented PR is a must, Kurdish leaders can be invited to the capital to speak out against the PKK/YPG terror organization.
A joint military working group can also be established between Turkey and the US and additionally members of parliament from all parties at the Grand National Assembly of Turkey can pay a visit to US Congress.
American journalists should be invited to Syria, and the work Turkey that has done in Syria can be explained to them first-hand. Statements and reports regarding the recruitment of children by the YPG/PKK in Syria, including from the United Nations should be shared with the public and Western media. Reforms on human rights issues and the law can be implemented in an embracing way.
Collaboration with Syrian-American organisations based in the US and having discussions with US citizens who have joined and left the YPG can help shape public opinion.
While there are problems between the US and Turkey, I do not believe that two NATO allies who have been closely working together since the 1950s will sever their ties for the YPG. In particular, there is a need for serious dialogue and sincerity in the military field.
All of the retired US generals I have spoken to have stated that the relationship between Turkey and the US is of critical importance and that Turkey must not be lost. One of them is the former Commander of the European Army, the US Lieutenant General Ben Hodges. He acknowledges the mistake of supporting the YPG in Syria. He also told me that Daesh is a terrible enemy and should be crushed. But they are not an existential threat to any of our nations. The Kremlin is an existential threat, and the Chinese Communist Party Government is an existential threat.
I totally agree with the General Hodges who cares about the relationship between the two NATO Allies. He also highlighted that "we need allies such as Turkey who are able to help with deterring these threats. So decisions that prioritised tactical gains, such as working with YPG in order to crush ISIS, which severely damage relationships with an ally like Turkey, should be reconsidered."
It is time to have a sincere dialogue on the military side, and it’s time for Turkey-USA 2.0.
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