Ex­perts see US envoy Bass’ re­marks on ter­ror­ist at­tacks as sub­tle threat

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Politics - KUTAYHAN YILDIRIM - ANKARA

AMID the on­go­ing visa cri­sis be­tween Turkey and the U.S., out­go­ing U.S. Am­bas­sador John Bass’s re­marks on ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Turkey and Turkey’s ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity at his last press con­fer­ence in Ankara on Oct. 11 have been in­ter­preted by some ex­perts as a sub­tle threat to Turkey.

“The U.S. is not sup­port­ing an in­de­pen­dent Kur­dis­tan. The U.S. is not sup­port­ing a Kur­dish cor­ri­dor and does not sup­port any change in the ter­ri­to­rial in­tegrity of Turkey,” Bass said on Oct. 11. He also said that co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two al­lies had helped re­duce ter­ror­ist at­tacks in Turkey, adding that close se­cu­rity co­op­er­a­tion en­sured that Daesh was no longer able to carry out the kind of at­tacks that plagued Turkey in 2015 and 2016.

His state­ment re­gard­ing Turkey’s in­tegrity raised con­cerns in so­ci­ety and the me­dia as sev­eral Turk­ish news­pa­pers per­ceived the re­marks as a sub­tle threat. For in­stance, Sözcü Daily wrote: “U.S. envoy mak­ing in­sin­u­at­ing re­marks be­fore he leaves.” An­other daily, Yenisafak wrote: “Does John Bass work with Daesh?” Ak­sam daily wrote called Bass a “con­fes­sor.” Ay­dın­lık daily wrote as the head­line: “[Bass’s] Daesh con­fes­sion.”

Com­ment­ing on Bass’s re­marks, Hasan Basri Yü­cel from Is­tan­bul Trade Univer­sity said Bass’s state­ment was sub­tle, adding that he aims to cause a dis­tur­bance by say­ing these types of state­ments. He said: “Bass’ speech can be un­der­stood as speak softly but carry a big stick,” con­tend­ing that Bass in­sin­u­ated that the U.S. would cut off its sup­port for Turkey in the in­ter­na­tional field. Bora Bayrak­tar from Is­tan­bul Cul­ture Univer­sity agreed, call­ing Bass a failed diplo­mat who has never at­tempted to en­hance re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries. Bayrak­tar said the visa sus­pen­sion is the U.S.'s re­ac­tion to Turkey’s ef­forts to pro­vide its own se­cu­rity. He added that even though the U.S. has made state­ments re­gard­ing Turkey’s se­cu­rity, it has been act­ing against Turkey’s se­cu­rity and in­tegrity for 25 years.

Ex­plain­ing that Turkey is pro­vid­ing se­cu­rity for its peo­ple on its own, Bayrak­tar said: “Turkey is pro­vid­ing its se­cu­rity ow­ing to the de­ter­mi­nant and self-sac­ri­fic­ing ef­forts of Turk­ish se­cu­rity forces, stable gov­ern­ment and Turk­ish cit­i­zens’ sup­port for the gov­ern­ment.” He added that Turkey has been fight­ing ter­ror­ism de­spite U.S. ac­tions in the Mid­dle East. Yü­cel agreed: “Turkey’s se­cu­rity is not re­lated to co­op­er­a­tion with the U.S. It is ac­tu­ally re­lated to Turkey’s ac­tive ef­forts against ter­ror­ism and Op­er­a­tion Euphrates Shield.” Yü­cel added that Bass’ state­ments do not re­flect the truth.

Bayrak­tar added: “The main cause of the cri­sis is the U.S,” say­ing that the U.S has been sup­port­ing the PKK’s Syr­ian af­fil­i­ate Demo­cratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed Peo­ple’s Pro­tec­tion Units (YPG) ac­tively for two years by pro­vid­ing weapons. He added that U.S ac­tions in Iraq, Syria and its in­di­rect moves con­tra­dict Bass’ state­ments. “We should fo­cus on ac­tions not state­ments,” Bayrak­tar said. He added that the U.S. has been silent for two years on in­ci­dents that Turkey faced such as the July 15 coup at­tempt and Ankara’s se­cu­rity con­cerns per­tain­ing to the PYD in Syria and PKK in Iraq. Yü­cel added: “It is a well-known fact that even Turkey was fight­ing against Daesh in Op­er­a­tion Euphrates Shield, and the U.S didn’t pro­vide air sup­port.” Yü­cel and Bayrak­tar both said that Turkey has been pro­vid­ing its se­cu­rity alone with­out as­sis­tance from any for­eign power.

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