Biden's visit unlikely to mend US-Turkey ties

Published 22.08.2016 00:19

Washington's hosting Gülen is one of the greatest obstacles to restoring relations between Turkey and the U.S.

On July 15, Turkey got over a bloody coup attempt. Fethullah Gülen's followers, the leader of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) living in rural Pennsylvania, who infiltrated Turkish state institutions, attempted to stage a coup to overthrow the elected government. Turkish people took to the streets and stood against the coup plotters' tanks. Gülenists mercilessly killed 240 people. However, the attempted coup failed thanks to the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's prudence, the strong unity for democracy between the government and the opposition parties and the Turkish people's great resistance and bravery.

Turkey could escape from a really dangerous situation with little or no harm but unfortunately its Western allies (the U.S. in particular) did not give the expected support to the Turkish people who made a democracy history on the night of July 15. What was the most annoying in the U.S.'s statements was its ignoring Turkey's call to extradite Gülen who has become a guest of the U.S. for long years within its borders. And what's more, any leaders or representatives of these Turkey's allies did not come to Turkey to show their support. It was also funny to see that"foreign actors" in Ankara waited for a whole month to visit the building of Parliament that was bombed by the coup plotters on that night. Taking into consideration all of these, many question marks naturally arose in Turkish people's minds. Just after the failed coup attempt, Russian President Vladimir Putin called President Erdoğan and showed support.

Please just open the Twitter account of the former Swedish prime minister, European politician Carl Bildt, and you will see how rightful his reactions about Turkey's being left alone were.

It is not so hard to imagine that the deep silence of the U.S. and EU's leaders over the coup, which even angered Bildt, highly increased the Turkish people's anger. Seeing the increasing of Turkish people's displeasure, the U.S. started looking for ways with a diplomatic visit to show its solidarity with Turkey. First, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry declared that he would visit Turkey on Aug. 24. However, because the Turkish people's reactions were so high, the U.S. decided to arrange a higher level diplomatic visit to Turkey. Within this framework, U.S Vice President Joe Biden is coming to Turkey on Wednesday, Aug. 24.

The headlining topic of the meeting will of course be the extradition of Gülen who was the mastermind behind the deadly coup attempt on July 15.

It would not be realistic to expect the visit to yield concrete and positive results. Because there is a deepening huge crack in the relations between Turkey and the U.S.

Washington's having Gülen as a host is one of the greatest obstacles to restoring the relations between both sides.

The other pieces of the puzzle are the PKK and DAESH. The PKK, damaged by Turkish security forces, saw the bloody coup attempt as an opportunity and resumed its deadly terrorist attacks.

After one of the leading figures of the Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK), Cemil Bayık's statement that "the war will continue everywhere, whether on the mountains, in plateaus or cities," the PKK's bombing attacks started to increase and target civilians in particular.

The PKK terrorist organization carried out attacks in the city centers of Turkey's southeastern Van, Elazığ, Şemdinli and Bitlis cities only on Aug. 19. Twelve people lost their lives and 297 were wounded within one day. There were children between those who lost their lives due to the attacks.

Some of the militants of the terror organization explained the reason behind the attacks as "punishing the people who do not support the PKK."

Well, what was the U.S. doing while the PKK was killing the civilians in the predominantly Kurdish southern and eastern cities of Turkey? It was busy supporting the PKK's Syrian wing, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, People's Protection Units (YPG). Called the Syrian Democratic Forces to calm Turkey, which in fact mostly consists of YPG militants, captured Syria's Manbij district with the support of the U.S.

The U.S. promised that after Manbij was captured, the components of the YPG would turn toward the east of the Euphrates, which is Turkey's red line. However, the promise was not fulfilled. On the same days, armed fights happened between the YPG and the Assad regime in Syria's Hasakah. Bashar Assad's jets hit the YPG's positions. To save the YPG and block Assad's jets, the U.S. sent two F-16s to the region. In other words, the U.S. no longer feels the need to hide its support for the YPG. This support of the U.S. to the YPG encourages the PKK.

Meanwhile, the moderate groups supported by Turkey started to get ready to save Jarablous in Manbij's north in Syria from DAESH before the components of the YPG arrived and the PKK formed its lines there.

Maybe to retaliate the incidents above, DAESH organized the suicide attack yesterday, bombing a wedding ceremony in Turkey's southern city of Gaziantep that killed 51 people including many children.

These terrorist attacks reveal the urgency of two things for Turkey: First, Turkey has to remove DAESH from its borders to ensure its border security and second, the U.S. has to end its suppor for the YPG which encourages the PKK.

Biden is coming to Turkey while these incidents are being witnessed but it is not still certain whether there are concrete solution offers in his bag or not.

It is more important for Turkey to see the U.S.'s policy change that will be shaped after Biden's visit instead of what Biden will say in Ankara. The huge crack between Turkey and the U.S which is getting deeper and deeper by the day opens the door for irreversible cooperations between Turkey and Russia and other regional actors.

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