The recent visit from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to Ankara coincided with the release of the "Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community," which cites the link between the PKK, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in Syria.
"The Kurdish People's Protection Units – the Syrian militia of the Kurdistan Workers' Party [PKK] – will seek some form of autonomy but will face resistance from Russia, Iran and Turkey," read part of the report, which left no question unanswered regarding the PYD's relationship with the PKK.
Yes, Washington knows that the PYD is part of the PKK. Yes again, officials in the U.S. capital see that the PYD will seek autonomy. The report also says that only Turkey, Russia and Iran will oppose the plan. You can interpret that as it will only be these three countries that will react against these plans, as well.
No other argument could have supported Ankara's sensitivity toward the terrorist threat by PKK affiliates emerging from northern Syria. However, at the same time, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis was quoted as saying that priority should be given to combatting Daesh.
One can easily assume that President Donald Trump's administration has taken no steps toward recognizing Turkey's legitimate right to fight PKK and YPG terrorism. The YPG's so-called fight against Daesh as a tool has worked to legitimize the terrorist group, and U.S. officials have been warning Ankara to concentrate on the battle against Daesh in response to questions concerning Turkey's Operation Olive Branch in the PYD-controlled Afrin.
According to news reports from Raqqa, Daesh had already left the majority of Syria and its remaining members have already infiltrated other parts of the region. Moreover, the PYD and YPG have, in fact, cooperated with Daesh, as seen in Raqqa. So, when a U.S. official starts talking about the urgency of combating Daesh, it can be interpreted as an argument meant to protect PYD and PKK terrorists in the region.
The thousands of trucks of weapons transferred to YPG terrorists by the U.S. mark one of the biggest sins perpetrated by the United States in Turkey's neighborhood. It becomes clearer by the day that plans for the terrorists' autonomy are being approved, if not organized directly, by Washington.
Besides this U.S. support to the YPG, the shelter the U.S. provides for the head of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), Fetullah Gülen, as well as its leading members, continues to deepen the fault lines between Ankara and Washington.
Parallel to Tillerson's visit, the NATO meeting held in Brussels also became a stage for talks between top Turkish and American defense and military figures.
Mattis met with Defense Minister Nurettin Canikli in addition to attending meetings planned between U.S. and Turkish military heads. Amid of these negotiations, Washington seems to be staying on its own track, which is not heading in the right direction.
The United States needs to refrain from creating new situations that interfere with Turkey's fight against terrorism and its ability to protect its legitimate defense before it is too late.