Open letter to Trump

THE EDITORIAL BOARD
ISTANBUL
Published 10.05.2017 00:00
Updated 10.05.2017 23:15

Mr. President. We, at Daily Sabah, feel it as our duty to inform you of the great disservice done to you and the country you lead by the relics of the previous administration concerning the U.S. policy toward the Daesh terrorist group.

As Daily Sabah reported before and after your election victory last November, the Turkish public was glad to see Barack Obama go and replaced with a person of renowned business acumen as yourself. This was no coincidence. As you are well aware, what the U.S. needs is a complete overhaul of bankrupt policies of the previous administration, both within the U.S. and abroad. Obama left a world more divided and less safe than the one he found.

Your election was seen as an opportunity, including by many officials in Turkey, to correct numerous grievous mistakes. Arguably, the biggest mistake during the Obama era, the one that has affected Turkey the most, has been his incredibly callous policy toward what is happening in Syria.

After years of procrastination, the Obama administration resolved to address the Syria crisis, not by tackling its cause, the Assad administration, but its consequence, Daesh. What was even worse from the Turkish perspective was its decision to support a group Turkey, the U.S. and EU recognize as a terrorist group, the PKK.

Do not be deceived by claims that the terrorist PKK is completely different from the People's Protection Units (YPG). Such arguments certainly don't fool anyone, particularly the Turkish public. The YPG is just the Syrian wing of the PKK, sharing the same leadership, militants, arms, ideology and objectives.

Your approval of Pentagon's plan to support the PKK, irrespective of the numerous abbreviations in use, whether it be the YPG, the Democratic Union Party (PYD), the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) or else, is nothing but the continuation of a bankrupt Obama policy. The U.S. has been hurt before by helping terrorists it deemed enemies of its enemies. Do your advisers care to explain what will happen to these terrorists trained and armed by the U.S. once the Daesh threat is eliminated?

The current U.S. policy in Syria is destined to collapse. Losing the trust and support of a close strategic partner and NATO ally will be just the beginning. Fighting terrorism is a global project. Just imagine the cost of losing Turkey in the global fight against terror.

And do not forget that Turkey will never just stand by and accept the arming of the PKK/YPG. This is a matter of national security of utmost importance. Nothing whatsoever will make up for the armed support given to the terrorist group. Turkey knows that any arms given to the YPG will eventually end up being used in terrorist attacks across the country. Throughout Syria and Iraq, many groups are antagonistic toward the PKK and its numerous affiliates and will pounce on them at the first opportunity.

Consequently, Turkey does not have the luxury of allowing the PKK to use these new weapons and will soon have to take action to neutralize the danger. Turkey has the right to cleanse each and every terrorist threat within and across its borders. PKK and Daesh presence across the border in Syria and Iraq constitute a huge threat to Turkey and last year's Operation Euphrates Shield against both was just the start. It should be anticipated that Turkey will launch more military operations, with the Free Syrian Army (FSA), to extinguish all threats to its security. These will most probably include incursions toward Manbij and Afrin, which will also allow indigenous people, rather than YPG terrorists, taking over the government.

Over the years, you have achieved a lot by trusting your gut. What does your gut tell you when all the remnants of the Obama era in the Pentagon and the State Department are telling you that betraying the trust of a NATO partner is just fine, and that Turkey will easily be placated? Make no mistake. Turkey will never be just fine with an ally supporting a terrorist group that poses clear and present danger to its security. The Turkish public has a long memory and will never forget who sided with those responsible for the deaths of thousands of Turkish citizens.

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