The July 5 headline in Turkey’s Hurriyet newspaper, quoting Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus reads as follows: “Turkey Says It’s Not Declaring War On YPG [Yekîneyên Parastina Gel or People's Protection Units],” the main Syrian Kurdish militia just across the border. But, Kurtulmus added, “if Turkey sees a YPG movement in northern Syria that is a threat to it, it will retaliate in kind.”
Donald J. Trump declared: “We support Turkey in the first fight against terror and terror groups like ISIS and the PKK, and ensure they have no safe quarter, the terror groups” (16 May 2017). Equating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) shows a profound lack of nuance. While the United States lists both ISIS and the PKK as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), their ideology and tactics are dramatically different.
Soon after a meeting in Beijing with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in a press conference that he would maintain Russia’s contact with the “Kurdish formations” in Syria that are fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL), or DAESH, despite Turkey’s objections. By “Kurdish formations” he meant the People’s Protection Units (YPG), the militia of the Democratic Unity Party (PYD), the Syria extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) which has been waging an armed campaign against Turkey for more than three decades.
Amid the war against the Islamic State, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is bombing our villages and soldiers on an entirely false pretense.
Unable to change the course of events in Syria, where he is increasingly up against the U.S. and Russia, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has decided on a high-stake disruptive game aimed at trying to secure Turkey’s interests.
Turkey's airstrikes on Kurdish regions in Syria and Iraq recently raised many an eyebrow around the globe. They left world leaders wondering if there will be more strikes and, if so, how the escalation will unfold. This article is a sequel to Amberin Zaman’s piece on April 25 that reflected the viewpoints of the United States, the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) and Baghdad. This will focus on the perspectives of Ankara and Moscow, Ankara's strategic calculations behind the attacks and Moscow’s position on the events.
Polls conducted over the last few years on Turkish society’s sociological profile reveal that at least 60 percent of the population is made up of pious, conservative and nationalist people. This largely corresponds to the totality of votes that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) got in the last general election in November 2015, with the AKP winning around 50 percent and the MHP winning around 10 percent of the votes.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to rev the engine of his campaign supporting constitutional amendments. However, what the effort really needs is a solid steering alignment. It's all over the road.
The independence of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) is being discussed once and more. Most recently, KRG President Massoud Barzani cited the disintegration of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia in reference to Iraq’s future. He inflamed the longstanding discussion about independence, saying, “Kurds have the right to self-determination just as Eastern European people do.”
Turkey is steadily sealing its frontier with Syria, long infiltrated in both directions by fighters and smugglers, with fences, minefields, ditches and a wall that will snake even through the most mountainous regions.