U.S. should rely on Turkey in Syria, ambassador says


The United States should rely on NATO ally Turkey to achieve its strategic objectives in Syria, rather than a Kurdish terrorist group that has been co-opted by Syrian President Bashar Assad, Serdar Kilic, Turkey’s ambassador to the United States, said in the Washington Post.

The newspaper was wrong to claim that Turkey is “irrationally bent on annihilating” U.S.-backed forces led by the Kurds, who have helped Washington eradicate the threat of Islamic State (ISIS), in an editorial entitled “A Gift to America’s Enemies”, Kilic said in a letter to the editor.

Turkey invaded Syria in January to fight the People’s Protection Units (PYD), seizing the northern city of Afrin in March. The military incursion drew widespread criticism from Turkey’s Western allies.

Just as ISIS does not represent Muslims, the PYD, a Syrian offshoot of the Turkey-based  Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), does not represent the Kurds, he said.

Kilic said a “cynical cohabitation” has formed between Assad and the PYD in Syria’s north similar to the one the Syrian regime had with ISIS. The YPG has never been in opposition to Assad, but an accomplice of the regime, he said.

“Turkey is the only country that fought with regular forces against Daesh (ISIS) in Syria and that took on another terrorist organisation 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 centre, which was left unscratched, stands in extreme contrast with the utter devastation caused in Raqqa by the PYD/YPG.”

It is time to abandon “irresponsible tactical role-playing” and for the United States to act strategically and rely on its decades-long alliance with Turkey, Kilic said. This is essential to the stability and security of the region, he said.

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