Turkey’s War of Words with Washington
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)
What’s bluster and serious remains to be seen. In early January, Erdogan said he intended cross-border operations in northern Syria’s Afrin and Manbij regions.
On January 18, cross-border shelling of Kurdish fighter positions in Afrin began, followed by terror-bombing, then Turkish and anti-Assad Free Syrian Army forces moving into the area – at the time, the operation green lighted by Washington and Russia.
Turkey’s so-called Operation Olive Branch is naked aggression, falsely called self-defense. No enemies in Syria threaten Turkish territory. No national security issues are at stake.
Erdogan announced he was expanding the operation toward Manbij, an area US forces occupy.
On Saturday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu demanded Washington withdraw its Manbij-based forces and stopp supplying Kurdish YPG fighters with weapons.
“We want to see more concrete steps rather than words. The US must cut ties with the (YPG) terrorist organization,” he said.
Earlier, Trump’s National Security Advisor HR McMaster said Washington would stop arming Kurdish fighters. Trump told Erdogan the same thing in December.
Supplying Kurds with weapons continues, according to Erdogan, on the phony pretext of combating ISIS no longer in the area, its remaining fighters redeployed by Washington elsewhere in Syria.
On Thursday, Trump and Erdogan spoke again, a White House spokesperson saying the president “relayed concerns that escalating violence in Afrin, Syria risks undercutting our shared goals in Syria.”
“He urged Turkey to exercise caution and to avoid any actions that might risk conflict between Turkish and American forces.”
Washington and Turkey support regime change, both countries hostile to Syrian sovereign independence and territorial integrity.
US/Turkish relations are strained, notably since the aborted July 2016 coup attempt, falsely blamed on ex-pat Fethullah Gulen, living in America. Washington refuses to extradite him.
Other issues strained relations, most recently US plans for a 30,000-strong Kurdish YPG security force in northern Syria bordering Turkey.
Erdogan vowed to destroy it before its creation. Turkey waged war on its Kurdish population since the 1980s, now combating heavily armed YPG fighters in Syria, falsely claiming it’s acting in self-defense.
Turkey’s General Staff says combat operations are to establish security and stability along the country’s border with Syria.
The only regional threats Ankara faces are invented, no legitimate ones.
My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”