Is Turkey a US ally, Mr Trump? - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#14771744
Hurriyet wrote:It is good and perhaps necessary that U.S. President Donald Trump issued an executive order for a “Plan to Defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria” on Jan. 28. It is necessary because the strategy of former President Barack Obama obviously did not work.

Obama was too late to intervene in the Syrian civil war and also too little due to his no-boots-on-the-ground policy. The partner he chose as a ground force against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or DAESH, was also particularly controversial for Turkey. The Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its militia the People’s Protection Units (YPG) are the Syrian extensions of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has been designated as a terrorist group by the U.S. for more than two decades. That created a major rift between the U.S. and its NATO ally Turkey, as the PKK has been fighting against Turkey with territorial and sovereignty claims, in a campaign that has claimed more than 40,000 lives since 1984.

Despite Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan’s belated offer to fight together against ISIL if the U.S. dropped the PYD, Obama did not change his mind. This caused Turkey to look for ways to fight to push ISIL away from its borders, as well as the PYD, by cooperating with its NATO rival Russia.

Turkey’s cooperation with Russia produced the first viable ceasefire in the six-year-old Syria civil war, while the U.S.’s cooperation with the PYD/PKK came to a standstill at the gates of ISIL’s de facto capital Raqqa.
So Trump’s search for a new strategy against ISIL, to be drafted within 30 days, is a move in the right direction. However, the content of the executive order does not promise a better way to carry out such a fight.

Hürriyet Daily News Ankara bureau chief Serkan Demirtaş has pointed out how Trump’s order completely ignores ISIL’s Turkish victims. When giving examples of ISIL attacks on “allies,” the order cites ISIL attacks in France, Belgium and Germany, which were all awful acts of terror that claimed innocent lives.

But ISIL has killed around 250 people in Turkey in five major attacks since mid-2015, most recently the Reina nightclub attack in Istanbul in the early hours of 2017. Don’t the Turkish people – as well as the German, Israeli, Lebanese, Jordanian and American tourists killed in Turkey - count as victims of ISIL for Trump? Hasn’t Turkey been in a fierce fight against ISIL in Syria, landing major blows against the group and so far losing 56 of its soldiers in that fight?

Is Turkey no longer an ally of the U.S.? Worse, was Turkey not counted by Trump as an allied country targeted by ISIL because of its Muslim majority population?

Considering other moves by Trump - such as closing the U.S.’s doors to all citizens of seven Muslim majority countries, or preparing to limit the fight against extremism to what he calls “Islamic terrorism” (thus taking white supremacist terrorists off the list), or defining the target in the executive order as “Islamic terrorism” – worries are fueled that the new U.S. line under Trump will be at odds with Turkey under Erdoğan, who reacted against Germany’s Angela Merkel on Feb. 2 when she referred to “Islamist terror” in their joint press conference.

If terrorism is the common enemy among NATO allies, they should look for common ground instead of highlighting ideological and political differences. Trump’s stance will be most important in that respect in the coming days.

Hurriyet


The Turkish analyst raises some valid questions about the alliances that the US will have to choose in its fight against ISIS, will it ally with the Kurds who fight ISIS? Or will it ally with Turkey who fights both Kurds and ISIS? Or will it ally with both factions? Will there be an American-brokered attempt to reconcile the Turks with the Kurds?
#14771751
If I had to guess, I would say that Trump might either align with the Turkish government or just stand back and watch what happens.

Despite what I think of Trump, a part of me believes that he will want to do what he can to fight ISIS. The question is how he intends to fight terrorism.
#14771754
The Turkish analyst raises some valid questions about the alliances that the US will have to choose in its fight against ISIS, will it ally with the Kurds who fight ISIS? Or will it ally with Turkey who fights both Kurds and ISIS? Or will it ally with both factions?

Allying with both factions is not really an option. If he tried, then neither side would trust him. The Kurds are useful allies, though rather limited - they are ineffective beyond their own territory. And supporting them will alienate Turkey, for obvious reasons. If Trump is serious about defeating the IS, and doesn't want to place significant American forces in harm's way, then Turkey is the better bet as an ally.

Will there be an American-brokered attempt to reconcile the Turks with the Kurds?

I doubt that even Trump would be that stupid. But then again, you never know.... :eh:
#14771757
Potemkin wrote:Allying with both factions is not really an option. If he tried, then neither side would trust him.


Turkey has been allied with both Russia and the US for the past several months, undertaking missions under Russian cover or US cover depending on the location despite the Russo-Turkish spat that led to the shoot-down of that Russian plane months ago, and that has been going on long before the Trump administration was elected, under the Obama administration. Clearly make-shift alliances against a common foe are not that outlandish anymore and Trump is the kind of person that is willing to undo traditional stuff anyway.

Another question is, is Turkey really committed on fighting ISIS, or is she committed on using ISIS as cover to fight the Kurds?
#14771769
noemon wrote:The Turkish analyst raises some valid questions about the alliances that the US will have to choose in its fight against ISIS, will it ally with the Kurds who fight ISIS? Or will it ally with Turkey who fights both Kurds and ISIS? Or will it ally with both factions?


If the UK £100 million weapons deal is any indication, Turkey. Let's be frank, today Turkey are too important to not have as an ally. Why else has the human rights violations of coup conspirers been largely ignored? The West need Turkey more than Turkey needs the West. They are the key in making sure the refugee crisis doesn't worsen and also an important strategic partner in defeating IS. And while this remains the case, the Kurds will be nothing more than a pawn for the US to play with until they serve no purpose to them. Then, like Bin Larden before them, when this happens, the Kurds will realise that the US has used them and declare war on the US. History is forever repeating its self.
#14771772
B0ycey wrote:The West need Turkey more than Turkey needs the West.


Well that is debatable, the Turkish economy is facing a major crisis, the Turkish currency is currently on a nose-dive and a great many liberal Turks are fleeing the country in light of Erdogan's active persecution of anyone unaligned with him. Turkey is also facing an existential crisis and her achievements on the military front have been a lot less than expected. The Kurds have been a lot more successful than the Turks against ISIS who have faced numerous backlashes and several disappointments. And lastly there is the issue that western support will strengthen Erdogan and his upcoming constitutional reform in which he seeks to remake Turkey by giving more power onto himself.
#14771777
Of course you are correct Noemon. Which is why Erdogan hasn't neglected his responsibilities yet. Should the West abandon Turkey he will naturally turn his allegiances towards Russia. What I should have said is 'The West and Turkey need each other but Turkey will not think twice in finding new relationships should their relationship with the West sour'.
#14771824
noemon wrote:The Turkish analyst raises some valid questions about the alliances that the US will have to choose in its fight against ISIS, will it ally with the Kurds who fight ISIS? Or will it ally with Turkey who fights both Kurds and ISIS? Or will it ally with both factions? Will there be an American-brokered attempt to reconcile the Turks with the Kurds?

I think the US will just try to use the Kurds until Daesh is defeated and then drop them discretely in favor of Turkey. Trump has said that he favors safe zones for refugees in Syria. This is an old idea and has always been rejected because it would give Turkey carte blanche to annex parts of Syria. If there were to be camps in Syria for millions of refugees, there would have to be extensive policing and administration to keep those camps from turning into a Mafia state. Only the Turkish army could do that, which would mean de facto annexation. Turkish territorial expansion won't be very comforting for Greece either.

In the larger view of things, does Trump need Turkey to escalate a conflict with Iran? Or would Turkey side with Iran in the case of a military conflict?

So far, Putin has been able to exploit the US's catastrophic interventions in the ME. I don't see how Trump could get a foothold in Syria. The most likely scenario is that he'll escalate conflict with Iran and in Yemen. That'll strengthen his position (and his business interests) with Sunni countries.
#14771850
I don't think Trump will give any indication one way or another. He will use who ever is convenient. I believe he will never totally drop support for the Kurds, but will use the possibility to gain Turkish favor. He has made it pretty clear that he will be friends with anyone who wants to be friends. I don't think he will hesitate to be friends with opposing forces.
#14773090
We are glad that Clinton lost the election and her opponent won. Under a Clinton presidency, Turkey would be just another Syria. Obama just did enough to harm us and Clinton was going to lead that way.

Personally I hailed Trump's ban on some countries infected with heavy terrorism. If we did the same years ago, Turkey would be a much safer place.
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