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United States vs Turkey: What about the Kurds?

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Behind Trump's threats to Turkey, there is a conflict of interest between the American country and the Kurds

United States vs Turkey: What about the Kurds?

In recent days, President Donald Trump made strong threats against Turkey. Through his Twitter account he said that if Turkey carried out an attack on the Kurds, once the US armed forces withdrew, he would impose heavy economic sanctions on that country.

Leer en español: Estados Unidos vs Turquía ¿Qué pasa con los kurdos?

In this way, it would not be the first time that Turkey suffers from these sanctions, since already in 2018 the United States raised taxes by 100% on imports of steel and aluminum, which caused the lira to plummet. On that occasion, "the United States Government considered Turkey a threat to 'national security," according to France24.

The president's threats also reached the Kurds, who warned them that they could not provoke the Turks either.

As expected, in Turkey the reactions did not go down very well, and even Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavusoglu announced that such threats could not be made through Twitter and that it was better to stick to what was agreed. In the agreement, made through a telephone conversation, both Erdogan and Trump determined that Turkey was taking over the US mission in Syria, as El País mentions.

It is important to remember that in December of last year Trump said he would withdraw his troops from Syria, after having completely defeated ISIS. From that moment, it was agreed that Turkey would take control. However, the main victims were the Kurds, who were benefited by the American presence in the territory, since for Turkey the Kurds are the enemy group, as the Huffington Post recalls.

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Who are the Kurds and what are they looking for?

The Kurds are an Indo-European people based in Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq. For more than 50 years, the Kurdish people have struggled to be recognized as citizens and claim a space, a country of their own within Turkey. This is how the Democratic Union Party, a Kurdish party from northern Syria, was created since 2003.

As a branch of this party, the People's Protection Units (YPG for its initials in Kurdish) were born, who were in charge of fighting against the Islamic State, after the terrorist group bombed a Kurdish city in the north of Syria, as BBC says. From that moment, and thanks to the American intervention, the Kurds and the United States developed an alliance against the Islamic State.

Added to this, there is the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which despite not having links with the YPG, also seeks to recognize the cultural, political and national rights of the Kurdish people. Although both parties are considered peaceful, the Turkish State considers them as terrorist groups that threaten the security of the borders.

With this in mind, and before the declaration to withdraw troops from the territory, Turkey saw the perfect opportunity to threaten and attack the Kurds, but the trills of President Donald Trump did not let them continue with the plan.

Who to help?

The United States is in a dichotomy. On the one hand, there are the Kurds, a key ally facing the elimination of the Islamic State. On the other hand is Turkey, and with whom it has a strategic alliance in NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), because "both presidents confirmed their commitment to the development of bilateral cooperation in the field of defense", as emphasized by ABC.

NATO was initially created to defend Russian influence in the world. Currently, some of its objectives are "to guarantee stability in the Euro-Atlantic zone and to content and protect against any threat of aggression against any of the members of NATO," as RT recalls.

The NATO response

Faced with the disagreement between the two countries, the Organization affirmed that it is necessary to "resolve" any difference, "in order to have the main objective of fighting against the Islamic State", according to Europa Press.

Faced with a possible solution, the United States proposed creating a "security zone", which would be free from terrorism and would be located in northern Syria and would be under Turkish control. Despite proposing a solution, the Kurdish people rejected the creation of this area. Since they say they see no guarantees in the proposal and only recognize the UN as valid actors to monitor the situation.

Faced with this, Aldar Khalil, Foreign Relations official of the Movement of the Democratic Society, affirmed that "Turkey is not neutral, it is an interested party of the conflict (...) any interested party cannot be a guarantor of security (...) but any Turkish presence will change the balance of the region.

 

LatinAmerican Post | Laura Viviana Guevara Muñoz

Translated from "Estados Unidos vs. Turquía ¿Qué pasa con los Kurdos?"

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