The last thing any­one should do is trust Wash­ing­ton’s mo­tives in the Mid­dle East, since its re­gional poli­cies only aim to pre­serve the U.S.’ pres­ence in the re­gion

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page - MAHMUT ÖVÜR

THE U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tion is tak­ing dan­ger­ous steps that will have huge im­pacts on each re­gional party and even change al­liances

The United States’ re­cent an­nounce­ment re­gard­ing three PKK ex­ec­u­tive mem­bers has hit head­lines both in Turkey and the Mid­dle East. Con­cerns sur­round the pos­si­ble rea­sons why the U.S. made the move that is cer­tain to lead to is­sues for Turkey, neigh­bor­ing coun­tries and Kur­dish peo­ple. The mil­lion-dol­lar ques­tion is whether the de­ci­sion is con­jec­tural or a po­lit­i­cally cal­cu­lated move.

In fact, ex­perts and jour­nal­ists who closely fol­low re­gional de­vel­op­ments were not sur­prised as U.S. Sec­re­tary of De­fense James Mat­tis had hinted at the move last Fe­bru­ary. “We [the U.S.] can make the YPG [Peo­ple’s Pro­tec­tion Units] fight against the PKK,” said Mat­tis. His words had an­other mes­sage, the U.S. is go­ing to be a per­ma­nent ac­tor in Syria – and so it is. Pres­i­den­tial Spokesper­son İbrahim Kalın replied the U.S. de­ci­sion: “De­spite be­ing pos­i­tive, it is too late and a tac­ti­cal at­tempt.” Kalın also high­lighted that the prob­lem is clearly that the U.S. does not rec­og­nize the YPG/ Demo­cratic Union Party (PYD) as a ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tion. No mat­ter what, the Turk­ish side can­not ac­cept this stance un­der any cir­cum­stances.

It is not that hard to un­der­stand that the Daesh is­sue is just a pre­text for the U.S. to re­main ac­tive in Syria and the re­gion in gen­eral. That’s why it is now try­ing to make a dis­tinc­tion be­tween the PKK and its Syr­ian off­shoots and to present the YPG/PYD as a le­gal group in the eyes of the whole world while plan­ning to re­move the le­gal ba­sis for Turkey to in­ter­vene in the area east of the Euphrates.

That is one side of the is­sue. The other side is the U.S.’ ef­forts to fix its prob­lems with Turkey. How­ever, by do­ing so, the U.S. ad­min­is­tra­tion is tak­ing dan­ger­ous steps that will have huge im­pacts on each re­gional party and even change al­liances. The con­se­quences of the U.S.’ ac­tions will be­come clearer in the fu­ture; how­ever, the de­ci­sion will pri­mar­ily im­pact the PKK-PYD bloc and Kur­dish so­ci­ol­ogy. This may even mark a mile­stone for them soon.

It is note­wor­thy that the U.S. is well-known for its bro­ken part­ner­ships and agree­ments with re­gional ac­tors, and its bro­ken friend­ships have al­ways be­come a bur­den not for the U.S. but for the other par­ties. There­fore, the last thing any player in the re­gion should do is trust the U.S. To­day, the PKK-linked Syr­ian ter­ror­ist groups are now see­ing the true char­ac­ter of the U.S.

Two mem­bers of the U.S. Army at an Amer­i­can out­post in Man­bij as part of Wash­ing­ton’s sup­port of PKK-linked Syr­ian non­state groups, Syria, Feb. 7.

Mahmut Övür

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