While Turkey's intense diplomatic efforts continue in Idlib, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced that he will be meeting with European leaders and Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 5 in Turkey. The United States, seeing the dispute between Turkey and Russia as an opportunity, supports Turkey's efforts in Idlib but is not expected to provide any military support. However, the Pentagon stated that there is a dialogue about the deployment of Patriot missiles to Hatay. Apart from that, there are talks that the U.S. may provide more serious intelligence information to Turkey.
Turkey and the U.S. are on the same page about Idlib. Both of the NATO allies are against the Bashar Assad regime and want the killing of Idlib's civilians to stop. From time to time, U.S. President Donald Trump and his team members show their appreciation for Turkey's efforts in Idlib.
While many factions, including Congress, send messages of condemnation to the Assad regime and Russia, a remarkable and unusual statement came from U.S. Army Col. Myles Caggins, a spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR): "It appears that Idlib is a magnet for terrorist groups. There are a wide variety of groups, all of which pose a threat to civilians."
That an official from the Pentagon spoke about Idlib as if he represents Russia or Assad, should be perceived as an indicator of the level of conflict between the Pentagon and the White House. Some retired U.S. ambassadors and generals, Syrian experts and the Syrian-American community leaders were not happy with the colonel's statement.
As one can recall, this colonel was involved in a scandal last year when he liked an image shared by an account close to the YPG/PKK.
Following this explanation, the Office of the Inspector General at the U.S. Department of Defense reported that the records for the $715 million worth of arms given to the YPG/PKK had not been tracked, which reminded us that Turkey’s reaction to the issue was justified from the beginning.
Three days ago, U.S. Rep. Ralph Abraham appeared on the media in the U.S. for his visit to Mazloum Kobani, the so-called chief commander of YPG/PKK, in Syria. Abraham explained the purpose of the visit was the “safety of the Christians in the region and supporting self-governance of the Kurds."
I wish that this congressman would meet Syrian women and children escaping the massacre, go to the refugee camps and see for himself what Turkey has been doing, and visit the families of the people martyrized by the YPG/PKK.
Although there is distrust between Turkey and the U.S., there is a group in Washington that thinks that relations with Turkey should be maintained and knows how strong Turkey is within NATO. An unstable Turkey does not benefit from the strategic interests of the U.S. nor does it serve peace and stability in the Middle East already devastated by volatility. Therefore, the fact that the U.S. has shown its determination about not leaving Turkey alone against Russia can lead to some solutions.
Five senators visit Turkey
Sens. Jerry Moran, John Thune, Richard Burr, Marco Rubio and Deb Fischer, members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services, visited primarily NATO headquarters in İzmir, then the ancient city of Ephesus, and met with the representatives of business leaders. The person who caught my attention was Rubio, who is increasingly hostile toward Turks. Rubio, aside from his discomfort about Turkey's presence in Syria, is known for his closeness to Enes Kanter, who is the strongest public relations machine of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
It is important for the elected representatives from Washington, D.C., who criticize Turkey to realize the truth when they come to Turkey because Rubio is one of the few senators to say Turkey should be expelled from NATO. Ignorance is such a bad thing. I watched his visit to the NATO Allied Land Command in Izmir and wondered if he knew that Turkey cannot be expelled from NATO technically.
* President of the Turkish Heritage Organization and a 2019 Ellis Island Medal of Honor recipient