Aug. 13, 2015
- U.S. Concerns Grow about Turkish Bombardment of Kurds – Dion Nissenbaum and Ayla Albayrak
Three weeks ago, Turkey announced a breakthrough agreement to allow the U.S. to use bases in that country to launch airstrikes against Islamic State in Syria, and the Ankara government said it would join in the bombings. Since then, Turkey has launched a series of aggressive airstrikes against Kurdish militants but has yet to turn its firepower on Islamic State. Some U.S. officials suspect Turkey is using the recent agreement as cover for an offensive against the Kurdish PKK. (Wall Street Journal)
- See also Turkey Attacks the Kurds and the Islamic State – Col. (ret.) Dr. Jacques Neriah
Out of the 1,302 people arrested in Turkey, in what officials have described as a “full-fledged battle against terrorist groups,” 847 were accused of links to the PKK and just 137 to Islamic State. Moreover, Turkey’s agreement with the U.S. on a “safe zone” in northern Syria is meant to ensure that the territory remains out of the hands of the Kurds.
One cannot escape the conclusion that Turkey’s sudden change of policy is linked to the political situation. In the June 7 general elections, the Turkish-Kurdish People’s Democracy Party (HDP), which is seen as close to the PKK, won 13% of the seats, depriving Erdogan’s AKP party its majority in Parliament for the first time since 2002. By reviving the confrontation with the PKK (and the HDP), Erdogan hopes to undermine support for the HDP in view of possible repeat elections.The writer, an analyst at the Jerusalem Center, was formerly Foreign Policy Advisor to Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. (Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)