The PYD is acting wisely as it strives to expand into Azaz with Russian air support and into Jarabulus with U.S. support, which is quite the opposite of Turkey's strategy to give this region to the moderate groups
The content of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Turkey over the weekend will be much discussed and criticized in terms of the people with whom he held talks and the messages he gave. Indeed, Biden came to Turkey to address the state in Iraq and Syria and boost Ankara's support for the struggle against DAESH. This was the main issue he addressed during talks with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan for more than five hours.
In addition, the topics of relations with Iraq and Russia, a new train-and-equip program, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and border security were on the table. DAESH is a critical issue for the U.S., and the main purpose of Biden's visit was to ensure that Turkey becomes more affective in the struggle against DAESH. Since the beginning of the fight against DAESH, Turkey has maintained its contributions by opening İncirlik Air Base to support the international coalition. Turkey is determined to increasingly continue this support, but it is no secret that Russia has kept Ankara away from Syria since the downing of a Russian fighter jet. Turkey can neither fly its aircraft, nor can its aircraft depart from İncirlik Air Base. Russia and Iran gain a major foothold in Syria as if it were the sheriff in the country. What is the U.S.'s attitude concerning this situation? Nothing, we can say. U.S. President Barack Obama's administration avoids facing any reaction from Russia and disregards whatever Russia does as long as it fights DAESH. Furthermore, it does not want to disturb its honeymoon with Iran that came after many years. This is because Obama wants to make history as the leader who lifted the sanctions on Iran when he leaves office.
The U.S.'s regional policies do not match those of Turkey on several points. It can be said that this dispute was reflected during Biden's visit as well. The most important one of these points of divergence is its attitude toward the PYD, against which Ankara has adopted a clear stance since the beginning. However, Biden avoided mentioning the PYD in a self-assured manner while he called the PKK a terrorist organization. It seems that Washington is determined to regard the PYD as an ally against DAESH. How far can this policy be maintained? The question of how the PYD will come to the table in Geneva is still unclear. It appears the Obama administration thinks that it will satisfy people inside the country to the extent that it challenges DAESH before he leaves office.
Certainly, the PYD is acting wisely as it strives to expand into Azaz with Russia's air support and into Jarabulus with U.S. support. As is known, Azaz and Jarabulus have come under the spotlight of all parties in Syria. This is because in this region that strives to be liberated from DAESH the questions of which parties take up positions and how they will do so will determine how they will come to the table. Ankara wants this region to be given to the opposition groups and is troubled with the PYD's expansion into it. This is what has given rise to the emergence of discussions about a new train-and-equip program. This was one of the issues that was discussed during Biden's visit.
Even though Ankara expects the international coalition to support opposition groups by giving them air support along with the U.S., Russia's role cannot be ignored. Russia wants to block Turkey by empowering the PYD in an alliance with Iran and Syrian President Bashar Assad. It also wants to seize Azaz and Jarabulus, which will certainly give it a very strong position in negotiations.
One cannot think the PKK resorted to terror independently from these developments in a rough time when Turkey needs to be strong. It appears that the PKK has assumed the task of keeping Turkey busy in a period when the Middle East's future is being shaped. Turkey is facing major operations to undermine it from both inside and outside the country. Clashes both in Syria and southeastern Turkey should not be addressed independently from these developments.
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