This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Turkey's Collision Course With Kurdish Nationalism

"We have lists of 1,500 to 2,000 men ready to be trained as police who will protect the buffer zone in co-operation with Turkey."
"When the buffer zone is there, the role of the Turkmen is some of their factions will be in the fighting front, and then there will be police to protect the buffer zone in co-operation with the Turkish army and the FSA."
Mahmet Oglu, deputy head, Gaziantep branch, Syrian Turkmen Nationalist movement

"It was crucial to have the Turks on board in the fight against ISIS and the price they are extracting is their operations against the Kurds. Bombings by the PKK obviously fuel this, but we are trying to persuade the Turks to show restraint; the Americans certainly want to keep the YPG on board."
Senior British diplomat 

"Certainly they [YPG] want to rule their own areas, but they aren't about to declare that part of Syria as an independent state, because that would be political suicide."
"This is a group that could conceivably negotiate what the future of Syria will look like. They need to maintain legitimacy and political cover in order to hold their areas, which means avoiding an all-out Arab-Kurdish conflict, while continuing to attack the Islamic State to maintain U.S. political support." 
Aron Lund, Syria expert, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
PKK fighters resting as they patrol the front line in the Makhmur area, near Mosul, during the ongoing conflict against Islamic State (IS) jihadists PKK fighters resting as they patrol the front line in the Makhmur area, near Mosul, during the ongoing conflict against Islamic State (IS) jihadists

While purporting to finally accede to requests by NATO and the United States to commit to joining in a combined effort to eradicate Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant from Syria and Iraq -- although Turkish authorities are well known up until recently to turn a disinterested eye on the presence of Islamic State jihadists in Turkey, and even to facilitate the entry of foreign jihadists through to Syria to fight with ISIL -- Turkey is using the occasion to turn its guns on the PKK.

Which rather complicates matters between the allies, since the Kurds in all three countries have been involved in fighting Islamic State. The Kurdish success in meeting the challenge posed by ISIL, which Iraq's hopeless military and Syria's regime has been unable to mount with any degree of success, is one that has been recognized by the United States, prompting it to give back-up support to Kurdish combat groups.. It is in no one's interest for the Kurds to be targeted by Turkey.


Other than being in the perceived best interests of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan whose distrust of, and hatred for all Kurds, most particularly the Turkish PKK and the Syrian YPG, along with the Iraqi Peshmerga whom Erdogan views as a threat to Turkey's geographic security with their agitation for a designated homeland carved out of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, a geographic area that is representative of their ancient homeland heritage.

Ankara has come up with their version of a solution to the threat now posed by ISIL against the Turkish border; enlisting the aid of Syrian Turkmen, ethnic Turks living in Syria, to emulate and counter the Kurdish militias successfully battling ISIL. A call for volunteers among the ethnic Syrian Turks for a proposed police force meant to create an ISIL-free zone, policed by Turkmen militias, serves Turkey's interests, while complicating an already complex conflict situation.

Not only is Turkey set on its continued bombing of Kurdish positions, which are vital to the U.S.-led coalition fighting ISIL, but it is influencing, mentoring, training and arming the ethnic Turkish Syrian Turkmen as their proxy fighting force doing double duty against the Kurds and Islamic State. The Kurdish success and fighting prowess is a proven reliability, the Turkmen far less so. But Turkey feels it has arrived at a solution to benefit itself.

It has become common enough knowledge, as an understanding that Turkey is using its proposed 'buffer zone' to thwart nationalist aspirations of the People's Defence Units (YPG) in northern Syria. And the Turkmen fit right into the picture, with their claims of being forced from their homes by the Kurdish militias fighting ISIL. Turkey's offer to the Turkmen of food, clothing and military training fits Turkey's agenda perfectly.

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