Turkey and the U.S., being allies ever since the end of World War II, are experiencing their most tense period since Turkey's 1974 Cyprus peace operation. This is because the U.S. is overtly supporting the People's Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian branch of the PKK – a group the U.S. declared as a terrorist organization and which is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Turkish and Kurdish people in Turkey. In return, Turkey is questioning this move by its ally. Moreover, it is conducting an operation against YPG terrorists in Syria. It is clear that the violator is again the U.S., which is harming the sovereign rights and national security of its NATO ally.
How can the U.S. be so bold against Turkey in spite of international law and practices? Is it because it is strong in militarily and economically or because it thinks Ankara would not dare move against it? Probably both.
In fact, the Pentagon and CIA, which directs Washington's politics, have the experience of the past. However, since they do not take into account the changing balance and players, their experiences have turned into a cliché. This obviously leads them to underestimate the latest crisis, saying that history repeats itself. It is time to elaborate on the emphasis in the introduction, i.e., the process that followed Turkey's Cyprus operation in 1974. Back then, bothered by Ankara's operation on the island without consulting it, the U.S. placed an arms embargo on Turkey. Then Prime Minister Süleyman Demirel made a bold move and made the Cabinet issue a decision on July 25, 1975. Accordingly, all the 21 U.S. bases and facilities in Turkey were closed, and İncirlik Air Base, the largest and the most strategic, would only be available to NATO.
Three years later in 1978, U.S. Congress voted to remove the arms embargo imposed on Turkey. However, Ankara was determined not to open the bases. Surprisingly, the PKK and other terrorist organizations such as the YPG, which the U.S. has given 4,000 trucks of weapons as of today, emerged at that time in the late 1977s. The opening of U.S. military bases was possible after the military coup of Sept. 12, 1980, when Paul Henze, a CIA adviser to the White House, said: "Our boys did it."
Old hawks such as Eric Edelman, who has called on Washington to be tougher on Turkey in articles such as "Turkey is getting out of control," may be living 40 years in the past. However, Turkey put an end to the colonial mechanism of embargos, terrorism and coups on the streets on July 15, 2016. It is diversifying its defense industry, choosing its strategic allies itself without prejudice and conducting counterterrorism operations to maintain its national security with 90 percent domestic support. And today, the U.S. bases in Turkey are invaluable in an energy region where Russia has gained access to warm waters and Iran has expanded its sphere of influence to the Mediterranean where Israel has a coast.It is time for our level-headed friends in the U.S. to give up their arrogance and reckon the slaps they will receive from the Korean Peninsula to the Middle East.
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