Turkey's show of strength brings US, others in line

With the liberation of Afrin, Turkey will have dealt a major blow to PKK terrorists and their sponsors and seriously undermine efforts to create a terror corridor across northern Syria.

Turkey's show of strength brings US others in line

The Afrin operation continues full steam ahead, as the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army (FSA) surrounds the area from seven distinct points. Every passing day, the PKK's Syria affiliate, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG) militia are weakened, and the FSA makes advances.

With the liberation of Afrin, Turkey will have dealt a major blow to PKK terrorists and their sponsors and seriously undermined efforts to create a terror corridor across northern Syria.

As the fight continues, interesting developments take place in the West. Since the start of Operation Olive Branch, Western media outlets have surprisingly turned against the PKK-PYD to suggest that the two groups were one and the same. All of a sudden, there has been new emphasis on the YPG's war crimes and human rights violations. A few days ago, German magazine Focus reported that the PKK and PYD were the same organization and criticized Western governments for turning a blind eye to that fact. The magazine stated that the information came from German domestic intelligence reports: "The same militants are fighting for both the PYD and PKK. They are considered terrorists at the Turkish border and allies in Syria." It also quoted a PKK militant as saying, "I am sometimes a PKK, sometimes a YPG and at times a PJAK militant. But names do not matter. They all report to the PKK."

Just like that. To be clear, we have been making the same case for years. But it seems that hard power was necessary to get the point across. And let us recall that the above-quoted magazine made considerable contributions to anti-Erdoganism in the West.

In light of Turkey's military operation, foreign governments, not just media outlets, have revisited their Syria policies. For example, the United States was compelled to adopt a new position on the Syrian crisis. Although it has yet to develop that new position, it became clear that Washington could no longer enjoy the comfort of its old position. Within months, the U.S. moved from concluding talks with Turkey to outsource the entire fight to the YPG to acknowledge the need to speak with the Turks. Just days after President Erdoğan told reporters that he would not call U.S. President Donald Trump until he received a call fromthe White House, Mr. Trump requested a phone call with the Turkish leader. Let us not be troubled by the fact that certain people in Washington went to great lengths to distort the content of the call. We all know that such calls are recorded without exception. It would be quite easy to end the discussion by releasing the records of said phone call and establishing that the U.S. State Department indeed manipulated the conversation. Luckily, Turkey does not need that. The Turkish public actually believes their president and knows quite well that he does not refrain from saying in their presence what he often says in front of cameras and at public events. I would say that the U.S. stands to lose quite a lot, but a quick look at the cover of Time magazine reveals that Washington has little left to lose anyway. America Alone – what a glorious new name for the American dream.

Source: Daily Sabah

Fahrettin Altun
Fahrettin Altun is a Professor at Ibn Haldun University and the General Coordinator of SETA Foundation, Istanbul. Altun is the Editor-in-Chief of the monthly political magazine Kriter, the author of “Modernleşme Kuramı: Eleştirel Bir Giriş" and the co-author of “Freedom Press in Turkey.” Currently a columnist for Daily Sabah and Sabah newspapers, he is also a weekly analyst on “Enine Boyuna” and “Dışa Bakış” – two television series aired live on TRT 1 and TRT Haber respectively. Altun’s research areas include sociology of media and political communication, Turkish modernization and political culture.