Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu renewed calls today for Washington to sever ties with the Syrian Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the top ally of the US-led coalition against the Islamic State, and to provide air support to Turkish forces fighting to dislodge the jihadists from the Syrian town of al-Bab.Recall months ago my stating the obvious that the US was not supporting Turkish operations?
US reticence, Cavuosglu charged, was leading the Turkish people to ask, “Why are you letting these people [the Americans] remain in Incirlik?” Defense Minister Fikri Isik echoed his comments, remarking, “The absence of coalition assistance for the al-Bab operation makes one question [their use of] the Incirlik air base
Turkish forces and their rebel proxies have been struggling to capture al-Bab for more than a month, but IS fighters have put up fierce resistance. As a result, Turkish casualties are mounting.Gee I wonder who is assisting ISIS in their fight against Turkey ??
ISIS always gives it up for the PKK/YPG. Of course KurdIShIS has a vested interesting in fighting Turkey. For real.
Ankara is likely brandishing the Incirlik card because it is worried that President Barack Obama will sign a bill authorizing the Pentagon to train and equip the SDF before leaving office Jan. 20. ( Trump will be on the hook) The Kurdish and Arab SDF is dominated by the Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG), and Turkey insists that the YPG is no different from the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), which is fighting for Kurdish autonomy in Turkey. Thus, arming the YPG, Ankara argues, is the same as arming the PKK. Some US officials privately concur.I publicly concur! Jibes with all I’ve written here.
Turkey opened the base to coalition operations on July 22, 2015, after months of wrangling, and in all probability, would wait to gauge President-elect Donald Trump’s position on the YPG before deciding to pull the plug. Incirlik and an early warning radar station in the eastern province of Malatya remain Turkey’s greatest leverage in its perennially fraught ties with the United States. The Malatya facility, part of NATO’s missile defense system in Europe, is also used to spy on Iran.My opinion? Turkey should say buh-bye to NATO at Incirlik and at Malatya
On a more positive note, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim is expected to travel to Baghdad in the coming days to hold talks with his Iraqi counterpart, Haider al-Abadi
Speaking to reporters ahead of Yildirim's visit, Abadi confirmed that thorny issues like the PKK would come up during the meeting, which was originally scheduled for Jan. 5, but was postponed a few days. “We are not supporting the PKK, and the Iraqi constitution absolutely forbids the use [of its territory] for attacks against its neighbors, and we abide by that,” Abadi asserted, responding to claims that his government is arming and funding PKK rebels and their Yazidi affiliates in Sinjar as a counterweight to the Turkish troops based in Bashiqa, north of Mosul.
Ankara believes the PKK is looking to use Sinjar as a bridgehead to Syria, (they absolutely are using Sinjar as a bridgehead as long term readers here have read) where the YPG is growing in strength and numbers by the day. Iraqi Kurdish officials confirm that Ankara will begin training a Syrian Kurdish force to rival the YPG.This should prove interesting.