In brief, Turkish and U.S. troops began joint land patrols in northern Syria. Needless to say, this has not created a stir or an atmosphere of trust as Turkey has quite valid and strong doubts about the U.S., which it sees as engaging in delaying tactics.
Anyhow, life is not so black and white. Turkey considers the cooperation of ground troops more important than flying drones or helicopters. Rather than jumping to conclusions about the start of joint land patrols, there are misgivings and expectations over how it will end.
For Turkey nourishes no hope about overcoming the crisis around U.S. relations with the People's Protection Units (YPG), the PKK's Syrian offshoot, and about the U.S. behaving like an ally again as it should do, since it is not so naive in the face of the conditions of the nascent world.
Nor does it expect or want a return to the alliance relationship during the Cold War. What matters here is an honest and transparent partnership on the basis of an equal relationship, prioritizing a win-win approach, and conducted by taking into account the related case, region and situation. We also know that those opposing such a partnership are at work nowadays. These are both working actively within the U.S. and mobilizing their proxies inside Turkey.
The irrationality infecting the crucial relationship between Turkey and the U.S., two key powers, lingers. Undoubtedly, the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), which had infiltrated the state, the society at large, the media and civil society for nearly half a century, and which staged a coup on July 15, 2016 using its cadres within the military and the police after having failed to topple the elected legitimate government through numerous plots, should be included in this picture, too.
The PKK, its offshoot YPG, and FETÖ are part of the same grand plan. A broad spectrum comprising terrorist groups as well as respected organizations has been trying to reshape Turkey to facilitate the redrawing of the Middle East and obliterate Palestine.
Nothing to cover
Obviously, this is neither humane nor wise, ethical or – as a Christian myself – consistent with the tenets of Christianity. Infiltrating other countries' security bureaucracies instead of establishing fair relations and alliances with them, turning an entire generation into agents there, and as U.S. President Donald Trump said during the election campaign, fomenting coups and setting up or sponsoring terrorist groups, etc., should not be normal.
We cannot just say, "What can we do, the world is such a place, let's go about our business." People, societies and states are also responsible for the consequences of their choices. That responsibility does not manifest itself simply as scruples of conscience about admitting a mistake.
It would have destructive effects on society and the state as well. A single example would suffice: Apart from claiming the lives of millions of Vietnamese, that crazy Vietnam War did incalculable damage to American society and left a legacy that will never be erased.
Getting back to present day, concocted by who knows which part of the U.S. government, this project is surely related to Israel in one way or another. It's obvious that the project was liked much and its designers have acted with near certainty about its success. This indicates the so-called "God syndrome," and God likes to put to shame those succumbing to it. Both the Old and New Testament, as well as the holy Quran, have marvelous verses about this.
The current problem stems from serious trouble created by the relationship of a big country with the PKK and FETÖ, since there is even less confidence now about its goals and success.
Surely, Turkey surviving the Gezi coup attempt, carrying out Operation Euphrates Shield, the most successful operation in Syria so far, against Deash only 40 days after the July 15 attempted coup, carrying out Operation Olive Branch, the Idlib agreement, the Astana and Sochi processes, rapport with Russia and the near decimation of PKK militants inside Turkey were almost unthinkable.
Accordingly, as the PKK and FETÖ gradually collapse, a process of self-questioning will begin both in the U.S. and among "White Turks" and, most importantly, Kurds within Turkey.
A brief analysis
I believe in the value of American democracy, but embarking on such ventures come at a price. American media, civil society and the justice system will force those responsible for this project to pay the price as failure becomes more evident. Ufuk Ulutaş, who provides valuable, thoughtful analyses on foreign policy in Turkish daily Akşam, touched on this subject last week in his column, "Never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity."
"Interestingly enough, that group [in the U.S.] insists on maintaining a long-running relationship with the PKK. Legal implications of that insistence are quite clear. Providing overt military assistance to a terrorist group would probably cause a huge scandal in the U.S., setting off a series of investigations. Though the current atmosphere is not conducive to that, what is glossed over nowadays will be a matter of debate one day, as the weapons delivered to the PKK and its radicalization create problems in the West. PKK militants returning from Syria will stir up and bolster radicalization within the U.S. and Europe.
"The rationality behind this insistence reveals the strategic shallowness the U.S. is mired in. Russia is not investing in the PKK extensively. Even the [Bashar] Assad regime refrains from long-term engagement with the PKK. How is it possible to concentrate heavily on the PKK regarding the Syrian crisis for a long time? When the pretext of the Deash threat ends – that's to say, when circumstances change – the support given to the terrorist group will lead to long-term strategic blockage.
The insistence of ignoring this prevents relations with Turkey from being restored on the basis of mutual trust. Joint patrols are an opportunity, but we will wait and see how the U.S. uses this opportunity."
This analysis refers to the U.S. dimension of the issue and for this very reason, Turkey's active resistance to that design is annoying. Ulutaş's prediction is not a wish. The U.S. is openly cooperating with a terrorist group at the moment and is sending thousands of truckloads of weapons to it. It is helping a terrorist group carve out a statelet, one that kills even babies, abducts Kurdish youth, and recruits and uses child soldiers in its NATO ally Turkey. But is this terrible situation discussed widely by the American public? Not at the moment; mainly because the Deash smokescreen, an inward-looking U.S. public opinion and the deliberate use of an anti-Erdoğan rhetoric make it impossible.
Now, let's look at the Turkish and Syrian dimensions of the issue.
It has been expressed that the number of Kurdish youth abducted by the PKK/YPG and sent to death in a war that is not theirs is at least 50,000, but the real number is believed to be much higher. It is one thing to tell Kurdish mothers that their children were killed in Ayn al-Arab, which is Kurdish populated, but another thing to explain why Kurdish youth were killed in such places as Raqqa, Tal Abyad, Manbij and Deir el-Zour, where there is no significant Kurdish population, in an obscure war. Doubtlessly, the U.S. will also be pressed, as much as the PKK and its political wing, the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), to provide a satisfactory answer. Besides, there will be a judicial dimension to the issue, too.
Hacire Akar's symbol
Indeed, recently a sit-in launched by Hacire Akar, a Kurdish mother, in front of HDP's provincial headquarters in Diyarbakır has quickly snowballed into a wider protest, with one of the slogans being chanted, "We have no children to sacrifice to the U.S."
Hacire Akar was able to retrieve her son before he was taken to the mountains. The HDP is believed to be complicit in the abduction of youth. The mothers pounding at the doors of HDP headquarters is not a case of state propaganda. In fact, the quick spread of the protests proves this. Moreover, there has been strong pressure from the public on the government to take more action.
I have been writing for years now that this evil project brings serious damage to the U.S., Turkey, to local people, particularly Kurds, and essentially to Israel itself. Turkey is a secular Muslim country where Jews can live in safety.
But beyond that, it is a rational and reliable partner in the Palestine problem, the security of Europe, the issue of refugees and in energy security. Turkey is no Saudi Arabia or United Arab Emirates. That difference is good for the world.
In short, level-headed people within the U.S. bringing into question the given U.S. strategy toward Turkey and the Middle East and acting with courage will produce good results for all.