A strategy for Ankara in the Turkish-American war

A strategy for Ankara in the Turkish-American war

The US announced on Thursday to have shot down an armed Turkish drone that was operating near its troops in Syria. The statement was made by the Pentagon. On Thursday night Turkish military air strikes had launched an operation and destroyed 30 PYD/PKK targets in northern Syria.

Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder said Turkish drones had been seen carrying out airstrikes in Hasakah, Syria, on Thursday morning, about 1 km away from U.S. troops. A few hours later, a Turkish drone came within less than a half a kilometer (0.3 miles) of U.S. troops and was deemed a threat and shot down by F-16 aircraft.

The Turkish Armed Forces’ operation came after the bomb attack of PYD/PKK in front of government buildings in Ankara on the weekend.

Turkish Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan said the attackers had entered Türkiye through Syria and received training there: All infrastructure, superstructure and energy facilities that belong to the PKK and the YPG, especially in Iraq and Syria, are legitimate targets of our security forces, armed forces and intelligence units from now on” he stated.

Referring to the US troops in the region, Hakan Fidan added: “I recommend from here that third parties stay away from the facilities and people belonging to the PKK and the YPG.”

United World International author, historian and political scientist Mehmet Perinçek made an evaluation on the issue.

Turkish-American war

Türkiye took a justifiable action in response to the terrorist attack carried out by the PKK in the capital city, Ankara. In retaliation, Turkish UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles) were shot down by American forces. We need to call the current situation a “Turkish-American war”. Türkiye now finds itself not only indirectly but also directly at odds with the US.

Actually, the Turkish-American war is nothing new. Türkiye was already engaged in a conflict with the US during the coup attempt of 2016, July 15-16. However, the intensity of the confrontation has escalated, with Turkish and American forces now facing each other on a much closer front.

Türkiye’s operations in the interest of the entire Eurasia

Additionally, the operations carried out by the Turkish Armed Forces against the terrorist strongholds in the region are not only in the interest of Türkiye but also in the interest of all countries in the region. Because PKK terrorism is part of the so-called Kurdistan project and the puppet state project of the US in the region. Any military base established there would be a part of the American strategy extending from Russia to China. Therefore, when the Turkish Armed Forces targets the PKK, it is also in the interest of Russia, China, Pakistan and Iran. In this sense, the people and the states in the region, even entire Eurasian countries, should be supporting Türkiye.

The way to success: cooperation with Damascus

For Türkiye to navigate this situation successfully, a national strategy is imperative. It’s not sufficient for Türkiye to be in the right or for the Turkish government to act with good intentions. Türkiye now faces the US threat in both Western Asia and the Eastern Mediterranean. Türkiye must establish alliances against that.

It is imperative for Türkiye to urgently cooperate with Damascus. There should be no compromises in that issue. It is essential to eliminate separatist terrorism, and also the bigot terrorism in Idlib. These two elements are interconnected, and neither should be favored nor considered more reasonable than the other.

The fallacy of buffer zone policy

The objective should be to eradicate the roots of terrorism in Idlib and eastern Euphrates, as well as any entities that disrupt Syria’s territorial integrity, rather than occasionally providing shelter operating with British funds. It’s essential to emphasize the phrase “completely eradicate” because, unfortunately, the Turkish government has been slow to establish relations with Damascus and has not pursued a strategy to eliminate the PKK. Instead, they have been following a line that somehow accepts and tolerates their presence, contenting themselves pushing the terrorist to the south. To tackle this issue effectively, we need a strategy that focuses on rooting out terrorism rather than merely sweeping it far from our borders.

A comprehensive strategy for Türkiye

Aside Damascus, Türkiye should collaborate with its partners in the Astana process, Russia and Iran. In this way Türkiye could achieve significant success in countering the PKK and its patron the US.

For this strategy to succeed, Türkiye needs the right economic policies, the ability to establish proper international alliances, and the need for a correct policy towards Ukraine and the Black Sea. Mistakes made in the Black Sea region, supporting Ukraine as a puppet of the US in Eastern Europe, will hinder the formation of the right alliances in Syria militarily. Therefore, with a comprehensive national strategy encompassing economics, foreign policy, and military strategy, Türkiye can emerge victorious from this conflict, bringing peace and stability to the region and dismantling and eliminating all kinds of terrorism.

Cooperation with the US against ISIS?

The US shot down Türkiye’s UAVs in a context where the PKK has attacked the Ministry of Interior in Ankara under the instructions of the US. However, if we examine the statement made by the Turkish Ministry of Defense, it talks about having talks with officials from the US Department of Defense and mentions cooperation with the US against ISIS. Now, let me ask a question: Who is the US’s biggest ally against ISIS? You can inquire at the US Department of Defense, or even better, just search on the internet, “Who is the US’s biggest ally” and you’ll find the answer in the words of Americans themselves: the PYD/PKK. The US is supposedly fighting against ISIS alongside the PYD/PKK, legitimizing and arming the PYD/PKK in the process. So, when Türkiye’s Ministry of Defense talks about cooperating with the US against ISIS on the very day the US shot down a Turkish UAV, this implies putting Turkish soldiers’ side by side with PYD/PKK under the American umbrella.

To gain the support of Russia and Iran

If you claim to be resolute in jointly fighting ISIS with the US, as the statement of Turkish Ministry of Defense does, then you become allies with the PYD/PKK. This highlights the absence of a clear strategy for these operations. You cannot mobilize the Turkish nation while claiming that you will fight alongside the US against ISIS with vague statements.

Moreover, you cannot bring Russia and Iran to your side with such ambiguous stances. Türkiye needs much clearer stances. Türkiye’s actions aimed at thwarting American plans in the region receive support from Russia. The Moscow-Ankara-Baku axis has achieved significant successes in Karabakh, contributing to the restoration of Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and disrupting American plans in the region. This cooperation has put a halt to Armenia’s plans for alliance and exercises with the US. Similarly, if Türkiye pursues a strategy to defeat both the US and the PYD/PKK, Russia will support it.

The economical aspect

In addition to the military and foreign policy aspects, it’s essential to address the economic dimension. The strategy I mentioned cannot be pursued adequately with an economy led by figures like Mehmet Şimşek. If your economy is operating on a track where you are begging the West for loans or borrowing from them, how can you fight against them? This is simply not feasible. So Türkiye needs an economic strategy in harmony with its political and military aims. These two are intertwined. To be able to defense its territorial integrity and sovereignty, Türkiye should stand on its own feet in the economic field.

Cover picture: Turkish Ministry of Defense

Mehmet Perinçek

Historian and political scientist (Türkiye)

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May 2024