How they see us: U.S. at odds with Turkey and Syrian Kurds
The biggest casualty of Turkey’s onslaught against the Kurds in Syria may be the U.S.-Turkish alliance, said Zafer Senocak in Die Welt (Germany). Turkish tanks and troops stormed into the northwestern Syrian region of Afrin last month, part of a campaign to push the Syrian-Kurdish YPG militia away from the Turkish border. The YPG is a key U.S. ally, having provided formidable assistance in the fight against ISIS. But Ankara considers the YPG a front for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has waged a separatist insurgency in southeastern Turkey for three decades, and Turks are starting to see America’s support for the Syrian Kurds as a betrayal of the two countries’ friendship. For the Turkish public, the U.S. “is now Enemy No. 1,” and anti-American passions are beginning “to rival those in North Korea.” Turkey is still America’s NATO ally, but apparently in name only.
Turkey just wants the U.S. to recognize it was wrong about the YPG, said Ilnur Cevik in the Daily Sabah(Turkey). Americans thought the YPG was somehow egalitarian because it had female fighters—failing to notice that many of the women “were underage and some were being used as sex slaves.” In fact, the YPG is barbaric. It uses civilians as human shields and in one Afrin village tied up four elderly Syrians and strapped explosives to their bodies, planning to blow them up when Turkish troops came to the rescue. Fortunately, our soldiers “defused the bombs and foiled the plot.” The U.S. must realize that Turkey, not the YPG, is its true ally in Syria.
But can Turkey really trust the U.S.? asked Hasan Ozturk in Yeni Safak. America’s strategic goal has long been to rewrite the borders “of 22 countries in the Middle East,” including Turkey. Arming and financing Kurdish terrorists serves that goal. Diplomats would say we should talk with Washington, but the U.S. doesn’t keep its word. The Obama administration promised Turkey that the YPG would move away from Afrin after defeating ISIS, but the Kurds haven’t budged. And the Trump administration is even worse, because it’s impossible to know “whether the White House or the Pentagon is in power,” and nobody seems to speak with authority.
The U.S. is hardly supporting the Kurds, said Mahmoud Berkhdan in The Daily Star (Lebanon). I’m a commander in the Syrian Democratic Forces, which includes the YPG. The U.S. assisted us while we were cannon fodder in the fight against ISIS—which claimed thousands of Kurdish lives and just four Americans—but it now allows its NATO ally Turkey to attack us “with impunity.” We are “exposed to the full wrath of a NATO army, without access to even a single helicopter to evacuate our wounded.” The Kurds are secular and democratic, and we want a diverse Syria. Having used us, will the U.S. let Turkey destroy us? ■