Who cares about the increase of anti-US sentiment in Turkey?

The root cause of newly increasing anti-American sentiment in Turkey is Washington's shortsighted and failed Syrian policies such as backing PKK-affiliated groups in Syria and hampering the Afrin operation.

Who cares about the increase of anti-US sentiment in Turkey
People gather outside the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul to protest President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, December 6, 2017. Anadolu Agency

Daily Sabah columnist Yahya Bostan's article on Monday, "Will Turkey target US troops in Manbij" was a very good piece and benefits many working on Turkish-U.S. relations and the Middle East balances. I later learned that Yahya's column came to the fore on a panel organized by Washington-based think tank Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Karen Decker, the director of the U.S. Department of State, claimed that Turkish media is increasing anti-Americanism by pointing to the article. Indeed, Decker is not alone; other U.S. counterparts wonder why Turkey is pushing anti-U.S. rhetoric in the Syrian equation. A very funny question. I sometimes think they are trying to mock us. Apparently, they are.

While U.S. administrations, both under former President Barack Obama and current President Donald Trump, have been pursuing a smear campaign against Turkey for five years, it is awkward to see those not understanding the cause of anti-American sentiment in the Turkish state and society. What's funnier, they've started accusing the Turkish media for this. However, it is crystal clear that what furthers anti-U.S. sentiment in Turkey is none other than the U.S. itself, due to its shortsighted and failed policies on Turkey and the region.

Turkey does not want to take the U.S. on and isn't planning to declare war on the U.S. Its only demand of Washington is simple and clear: Stop supporting terrorists groups, such as the Gulenist Terror Group (FETO) and the outlawed PKK and its Syrian offshoots, which threaten Turkish national security.

The Ankara administration created a plan for the region on its own due to national and regional security, stability and peace needs. Unfortunately, while doing this, the U.S. is hampering its plans and trying to drive it into a corner. The U.S. apparently backs the PKK-affiliated People's Protection Units (YPG) and Democratic Union Party (PYD) both of which aim to form a terror corridor near the Turkish border.

If Turkey hadn't launched counterterrorism offensives like Operation Euphrates Shield in 2016 and now Operation Olive Branch, the scenario would be totally different today.

Will the Afrin operation continue?

Of course, it has to as long as terrorist organizations continue their separatist campaign. No matter what, Turkey cannot stop its fight against terrorism and its struggle on its own to prevent the costs of U.S. plans. We've already witnessed the concrete contributions of the Afrin offensive to the region and will continue to do so. In one word, whether or not anti-American sentiment reaches a high level is not the problem we need to fix, but rather to secure Turkey's unity, peace and stability.

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.