By Payman Yazdani

Americans are not trustworthy partners for Kurds: Turkish expert

January 23, 2018

TEHRAN - Bora Bayraktar,Assistant Professor of Istanbul Kultur University believe the U.S. is after its own geopolitical goals in the region and is not a trustworthy ally for Kurds. 

Turkish military on Saturday announced that it launched “Operation Olive Branch” on Saturday 
at 5.00 p.m.

While Turkey says the operation is to eliminate terrorist from the region, Syrian government considers it as violation.

To know more about the issue  the issue we reached out to Dr. Bora Bayraktar,Assistant Professor of Istanbul Kultur University.

Following is the full text of his interview:

Q: What is the real goal behind the U.S. provocative acts in the region like creating a border security force in Syrian Kurdish region or arming SDF?

A: I think the United States is still trying to control the North of the Persian Gulf region, which she failed in Operation Enduring Freedom in 2003. The American invasion to Iraq in 2003 did not bore the results that the Washington expected. The resistance in northeast of Baghdad caused great damages to U.S. plans and it terrorized that area. 

It seems that the U.S. concluded that the Sunni Arab population and nationalist Shia groups as well will not support an American led leadership in Iraq. For this reason they want to contain any kind of anti-American settlement in Iraq and also in Syria. For this reason the U.S. is trying to build pro-American statelets, dominated by Kurdish groups. 

Arming SDF is the first step of controlling a large area, dominating north of Arab Middle East. The logic behind it is to build one or two garrison statelets in the area. Having trouble in convincing Turkey for their operations, and increasing awareness of national security threats states in the region, the U.S. is looking for alternatives. And PYD and other groups are providing that alternative for the U.S. 

Q: Is the U.S.’s real goal to fight ISIL or under this pretext the U.S. is after its own geopolitical interests?

A: I think one part of the story, yes every nation is trying to get rid of this ruthless, wild terrorist organization. But on the other hand many nations are trying to get advantage over the existence of this group. It would be naive to think that ISIS is the only reason for U.S. existence in Syrian territory. Eastern Mediterranean is on the fault line of global and regional power struggle. 

Russia is looking for its classical goal of having ports in warm seas, and Syria provides it. Russia wants to have a strong navy operating in two oceans. China, again is looking for ports in the West. The U.S. in their recent National Security Document regarded Russia and China as rivals. So, this is no conspiracy theory, it is obvious and declared in official documents. 

To counter Russian and Chinese expansion the U.S. wants to control the Persian Gulf Region and ISIS is being used as pretext to deploy American 
Troops in Syria. 

Q: Till now the U.S. particularly in Trump’s term has not been a trustworthy ally or partner for any of the country’s allies including Turkey. Will Americans be a trustworthy partner for Kurds, too?

A: Absolutely no. Kurds feel betrayed by the U.S. for many times. The latest striking example is the Kurdish independence referendum last year. Barzani, KRG president was sure that he would achieve independence via referendum and he sought for support of the Western countries, including the U.S. But Turkish, Iranian and Iraqi governments came together and denied this act of dividing Iraq. Three countries were able to keep Iraqi territorial integrity and prevented a proxy-Kurdish state. 

In Syria, during the latest Afrin operation of Turkey, Americans said they have nothing to do with the area and accepted Turkish move against its so called close allies. PYD/SDF felt betrayed already. Also Turkish reaction to U.S. attempts to form a border force by using SDF, forced US officials to deny this policy. 

When things are normalized in Syria and Iraq, the U.S. will withdraw its support from these groups and unfortunately Kurds will pay the price of this mistake. 

Q: What is the Turkey’s goal of hitting Afrin? To what extents the U.S. provocative acts forced Turkey to begin Olive Branch Operation?

A: Afrin was posing a strategic and immediate threat to Turkish security for long time. The PKK affiliated PYD organization sent its men to Turkey. After infiltrated they launched many terrorist attacks in Turkey. Afrin region also provided human resources and training camps to terrorist organization. Turkey was planning to neutralize this region for long. 

But U.S. statement of building a Border Security Force from Kurdish groups affiliated with PKK was alarming for Turkey. Within a year PYD quadrupled the area it controlled with support of U.S. They received 4900 trucks full of military equipment. And now U.S. is trying to legitimize them and also violating Syrian territorial integrity. Turkey thought that same thing might happen in Afrin too, and acted.

Q: How successful can this operation be? Wasn’t it better for Turkey to try to solve the issue via diplomacy first?

A: Soon this operation will be completed with certain defeat of PYD. Turkey cleared its way diplomatically, got support from Russia and now can use Syrian air space. The proximity to Turkey is also helping Turkey. After the operation is complete Syrian locals will return their homes and as the example of Euphrates Shield the life will turn to normal soon. 

When it comes to war on terror there is no diplomatic choice. Does France talk to ISIS or did Americans talk to Al Qaida. So, PKK, PYD are the same as ISIS and Nusra. From Turkish point of view, the only solution is the elimination of all terrorist groups. 

Q: Will Turkey’s operation affect Syria peace talks?

A: I think it will affect the talks in a positive way. PYD issue was poisoning Turkish-Russian relationship. Having solved this issue Turkey will contribute more. Also after securing its back Turkey can contribute in controlling of Idlib region with more check points and political commitment.

I think keeping the Sochi photo consensus among Iran, Turkey and Russia works for the good of all the parties. Turkish-Russian cooperation and Iranian consent in Afrin operation will strengthen this front further.

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