America should work with Turkey, not terrorists, in Syria

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The April 6 editorial “A gift to America’s enemies” claimed that Turkey is “irrationally bent on annihilating” Syrian forces, led by Kurds, “who have collaborated with the United States in fighting” Daesh.

The PKK and its Syrian branch the PYD/YPG are terrorist organizations that victimized the Kurdish people above all. As Daesh (also known as ISIS) does not represent the Muslims, the PYD/YPG does not represent the Kurds.

Turkey hosts 3.5 million Syrians from all faiths and ethnicities, including Arabs, Kurds, Turkmens, Assyrians and Armenians. The brutal Assad regime let the PYD/YPG widen its reign of terror to the areas these Syrians had to flee. A cynical cohabitation in these areas has emerged, similar to the one the regime had with Daesh. The PYD/YPG has never been an opposition element but an accomplice of the regime.

Turkey is the only country that fought with regular forces against Daesh in Syria and that took on another terrorist organization that was heavily entrenched in the mountainous terrain of Afrin. The Turkish Armed Forces showed an exemplary sensitivity for the protection of civilians. The liberated Afrin city center, which was left unscratched, stands in extreme contrast with the utter devastation caused in Raqqa by the PYD/YPG.

There is no room left for irresponsible tactical role-playing on the ground. It is time to see it all from a strategic perspective. The United States should rely on its decades-long alliance with Turkey, but not with a terrorist organization, while tackling the complexities of the Syrian conflict. This is essential for the future stability and security of the region.

Serdar Kılıç, Washington

The writer is ambassador of the Republic of Turkey.





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