Sunday, February 14, 2016

Turkey at odds with Russia and now the US on Syria: Turkey strikes Syrian airport when it fell under the control of US supported rebels, but did not bomb it when it was under the control of al-Nusra

    Sunday, February 14, 2016   No comments


Kurdish leader: Turkey strikes Syrian airport when it fell under the control of US supported rebels, but did not bomb it when it was under the control of al-Nusra. Do they want the Nusra Front to stay there, or for the regime to come and occupy it?
Turkey's faulty foreign policy choices in Syria since the beginning of the conflict, including supporting Sunnis in the sectarian strife, working for the removal of the Syrian regime from power, undermining the Syrian Kurds and downing a Russian jet, have dragged the country to such a point that today, it is at odds with not only Russia but its close ally the US as well.

After trying to impose its policies on other actors in the region for some time, it seems that Ankara will have no word in the future of Syria ahead of the Geneva peace talks, which have been postponed to Feb. 25.

After downing a Russian jet at the Syrian border over an airspace violation on Nov. 24 of last year, a first for NATO in 50 years, Turkish-Russian relations have been significantly derailed. Russia has demanded an apology and compensation for the damages, but Turkey has refused, saying that it will not apologize for defending its airspace.

Following Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's remarks calling on the US to choose between its ally Turkey and “the terrorists in Kobani,” a reference to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), which Turkey strongly opposes due to its links to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Ankara is now not on good terms with the US.

Sunday's Zaman has learned that US Ambassador to Turkey John Bass has asked Turkish officials not to publicly bring up the differences between the US and Turkey concerning the PYD. Bass said the US position on the PYD is clear and will not change. The US sees the PYD as one of the leading forces on the ground in the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and despite the fact that the PKK is classified as a terrorist organization under US law, the PYD is not considered terrorist. In spite of their differences on Syria, the US and Turkey had previously mostly managed to maintain a balance in their relationship.

Ignoring the remarks of Ambassador Bass, Erdoğan has challenged the US position on the PYD, and following Erdoğan's remarks US officials in Washington have expressed their position in a stronger tone, underscoring that their support for the PYD will continue. US Department State Spokesperson John Kirby said last week that even close friends do not have to agree on everything, while stressing that Turkey and the US are still close allies.



Ed Isr

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