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Articles on Turkey after 2019
Time to Recognize a Kurdish State: Trump's Shameless Betrayal as an Opportunity
Articles before 2019

  • (october 2019) Time to Recognize a Kurdish State: Trump's Shameless Betrayal as an Opportunity.

    In October 2019 Trump ordered the withdrawal of US troops from a part of Syria held by the staunchest US allies in Syria, the Kurdish militias that fought ISIS alongside the USA. Turkey immediately invaded the area and slaughtered the Kurds. More than 11,000 Kurds have died fighting alongside the US against ISIS, and Kurds were also the most reliable allies of the USA in the Iraqi war, besides being the main victims of Saddam Hussein's genocides and the first ones to rise up against him and join the USA's war of liberation. In August 2019 Trump convinced the Kurds to dismantle their defenses and withdraw in a more vulnerable location, promising to protect them according to a "security mechanism" framework. This made it much easier for Turkey to strike them now that Trump ordered the US troops to leave. Basically, it was a trap.
    After enslaving them inside Turkey, Erdogan has been trying to wipe out the Kurds from neighboring countries, first bombing Iraq's Kurds and now Syrian Kurds. This little Mussolini of Turkey with visions of a greater Turkey has not hesitated to arm and fund Islamic fundamentalists such as ISIS (see Turkey's coup and Erdogan's wars). His motives are clear.
    The US public opinion has, instead, been puzzled by Trump's motives. In fact, the whole world was appalled that Trump would facilitate and condone such a massacre by Turkey. It is also came right after Turkey decided to purchase Russian surface-to-air missiles: Turkey is a NATO member and is supposed to purchase military equipment from fellow NATO countries, not from enemies of NATO. Trump, instead, rewarded Turkey by pulling US troops out of the border between Turkey and Syria. Trump's own Republican friends were shocked. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking Republican in the House, tweeted: "Turkish troops preparing to invade Syria from the north, Russian-backed forces from the south, ISIS fighters attacking Raqqa. Impossible to understand why Trump is leaving America's allies to be slaughtered and enabling the return of ISIS." Lindsey Graham, a senator who has defended even the most indefensible Trump scandals: "This invasion will ensure the resurgence of ISIS in Syria, embolden America's enemies including Al Qaeda, Iran, and Russia, and launch yet another endless conflict in what had been, until today, one of the most safe and stable areas of Syria and a region experimenting with the best model of local governance currently available in that war-torn country."
    Trump's official excuse is ridiculous, like most of the things he says, especially when he tries to prove that he knows what he's talking about. Trump justified his decision as a desire to terminate the USA's wars in the Middle East. That would be welcome by many. Unfortunately, just five days later Trump ordered the deployment of 3,000 additional troops to Saudi Arabia, a fact that seems the prelude to starting a new war in the Middle East, this time against Iran (coincidentally, a country where Trump does not have any investment, coincidentally a historic rival of Turkey). Trump also claimed that the Kurds "didn't help at Normandy": neither did the Turks (and, by the way, neither did Donald Trump's father, the son of a German immigrant, who dodged the draft for World War II just like his son Donald would dodge the draft for the Vietnam War).
    Trump's real motives are, in fact, not hard to find, and, as usual, they are a mix of personal financial interests and orders from Moscow. Trump's decision to please Turkey's regime is not surprising at all for those who remember that in 2012 Turkey's very president Recep Tayyip Erdogan inaugurated Trump's towers in Istanbul. Trump's conflict of interest in Turkey has never been a secret: when 29 US senators and 186 House representatives filed a lawsuit about Trump's conflicts of interest in the world, Turkey was already one of countries named in the lawsuit. Michael Flynn, Trump's first national security adviser, was a paid agent of the Turkish government, by his own admission. During the Trump presidency, Turkish officials have made 14 visits to Trump properties, more than any other country, according to Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Trump had already condoned Erdogan's mass arrests of dissidents and journalists, widely condemned by all democratic leaders of the world.
    Secondly, Trump's betrayal of a close US ally clearly fulfils Putin's global strategy to demonstrate to the world that the USA is an unreliable partner. Which ally of the USA will ever trust again that the USA will stand by the alliance treaties it has signed?
    Thirdly, Putin's Russia is trying to force Kurds to ally with the Russian-backed forces of dictator Bashar al-Assad. This will end any discussion about who rules Syria: a puppet dictator funded and protected by Russia. Until now, the Kurds were the only military threat to his rule.
    The world should react to Trump's betrayal of the Kurds by doing the right thing: enough of letting various regimes slaughter the Kurdish people, let the Kurds have their own state. The democratic world should demand that Turkey split in two or three states. There is a conservative Islamist Turkey with capital in Ankara which is the real base of Erdogan's power (and also happens to be the real heir to the Turkish tribes that invaded the Greek Byzantine empire in the Middle Ages). Then there is a progressive, cosmopolitan, European, Turkey that encompasses Istanbul and the old Greek homeland along the Mediterranean coast (Greek civilization was born along that coast). This is a part of Turkey that is popular with Europeans and that mostly trades in euros, not Turkish liras. And this Turkey would probably be welcome in the European Union. Let's have a referendum and hear if the people of this Mediterranean Turkey want to remain part of Erdogan's Turkey or join the rest of Europe. Finally, there is a Turkey that never wanted and does not want to be part of Turkey: the Kurdish region. Let the Kurds split from Turkey, declare independence, join with the Syrian Kurds and possibly even the Kurds of Iraq and of Iran. (The Kurds of Iraq already voted in a nullified referendum to split from Iraq). I suspect that this new Kurdistan would become a member of the Western alliance or, at least, one of the West's most reliable allies.
    Is the world really determined to live with the notion that the Kurds will never have their own state? Most of the world accepts that the Palestinians should have their own state. We are willing to do this for 5 million Palestinians but not for the 12 million Kurds of Turkey (plus 2 million in Syria)? When will it be the right time for the Kurds to get their own state after centuries of oppression by Ottomans (Turks), Safavids (Iranians) and Arabs (in Iraq and Syria)? Is it logical that the PKK is listed by the European Union, the USA and NATO as a terrorist organization now that it is clear who the real terrorist is (Erdogan)? Shouldn't the European Union recognize the PKK as a legitimate liberation movement (alas, they are far from being angels, but that was true of most liberation movements before them). Maybe the European Union should take this opportunity and mediate a process to split Turkey into three separate states: 1. Erdogan's kingdom; 2. the Mediterranean provinces (Istanbul and the old Greek cities), with a fast track to admission into the European Union; and 3. Kurdistan, with referendums to decide the fate of the Kurds of Iraq and Iran. Otherwise, the events of the Trump years will encourage and strengthen Erdogan's paranoid and genocidal megalomania as well as Putin's clever expansionistic strategy.

    Unfortunately, at the same time that Erdogan started massacring Syrian Kurds, a European country, Spain, started arresting Catalunian politicians for demanding independence for Catalunia... not exactly the best way for Europe to set the example. And, unfortunately, when the Kurds of Iraq overwhelmingly voted in a referendum for independence from Iraq, the West ignored the results and reaffirmed Iraq's right to rule over its Kurds: why should Turkey do otherwise?

    (See also my very unpopular article The Phantom States of the World).

    TM, ®, Copyright © 2019 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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