In recent weeks, the gains by the Kurdish forces in northern Syria by the Kurdish Protection Units (YPG) have created wide spread speculation that the Kurds now have the upper hand and will form a state that will eventually join with the Kurds of Iraq and thus open a Kurdish corridor to the Mediterranean. The other speculation is that the United States has given its blessing to such a Kurdish state.These are unproductive and shortsighted speculations that only serve to create animosity toward the Kurds of the Middle East in general and those in Turkey in particular and are completely misplaced and dangerous. Yes, it is true that the Kurds of Syria are being supported by the U.S. with military aerial backing and intelligence simply because they are the only fighting force that can cope with the hordes of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS). Turkey has been saying for a long time that without a land operation against ISIS nothing can be achieved and thus the Americans are using the Kurds for this purpose. Trying to read more into this is completely wrong and only serves to confuse Turkish public opinion and create more enmity toward Washington. We do not need this.What is true is that ISIS has grown into a major threat for the whole of the Middle East and the Americans are going out of their way to support whoever can counter ISIS, whose barbarism reaches new peaks with every passing day.The situation in Syria remains extremely volatile and nothing should be taken for granted. Yes, there is a successful Kurdish force but that success is true for the time being. Tomorrow remains a mystery and the fact that Kobani came under attack by ISIS infiltrators who caused serious casualties just shows how volatile the situation is. No one can say that ISIS will not launch a massive attack and grab several lands in northern Syria once again; you need only look at how ISIS captured the Anbar province in Iraq while the Iraqi Shiites were bragging about how they would reclaim Mosul.What people also do not understand here is that Masoud Barzani and the Syrian Kurds who are close to the PKK are at serious odds. Barzani sent his peshmerga forces to halt ISIS when Kobani came under attack because the fall of Kobani would create more problems for Iraqi Kurds, not because of his deep affection for pro-PKK leaders who run the Syrian Kurds. But Barzani and the Syrian Kurdish leadership are miles apart and will not unite under the same flag. So this business of creating a Kurdish corridor to the Mediterranean seems farfetched. Besides can anyone in their right minds try to build a pipeline under such violent conditions to pump oil from northern Iraq to the Mediterranean?
It is clear that the volatile situation in Syria and especially in the northern parts of the country will continue for some time to come. So Turkey and the international community have to address two major issues. One is the plight of the Turkmens. We have to create safe pockets for the Turkmens. We also need to address the Syrian refugee issue as Turkey continues to host the 2 million Syrians who have sought shelter here. They are not a financial burden but they are also becoming a social dilemma.
So the first priority of the new coalition government has to be to address this issue. A buffer zone inside Syrian soil where camps are built for the Syrian refugees and where Turkey continues to provide for them is a practical solution. Besides, the same zone can host a safe haven for the Turkmens inside Syrian territory, which would be more than welcome. It is time the Americans also started thinking along these lines and thus win new friends over here.