U.S. President Donald Trump's critics disregard reality by arguing that his decision to pull back American forces in northern Syria will lead to an imminent peace operation there by Turkey, two experts said Tuesday.
In an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, Michael Doran, a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, and Mike Reynolds, an academician at Princeton University, said labeling Turkey's objections to arming the YPG terror organization 'anti-Kurdish' is ignorant.
"To dismiss Ankara’s objections to America’s arming of the YPG as mere anti-Kurdish bigotry is ignorant, akin to labeling the fight against al Qaeda as Islamophobia," they wrote.
Referring to critics of Trump's decision to pull back U.S. troops from northern Syria, they said they disregard reality.
"Turkey’s determination to secure its southern border against the YPG is a wanton impulse, in the prevailing view. But the YPG has substantial ties to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the PKK, as then-Defense Secretary Ash Carter testified before Congress in April 2016," they said.
They also said that critics of Turkey's purchase of Russia’s S-400 air defense missile system which led to "rupturing the U.S.-Turkey relationship" is an oversimplification.
‘Turkey's three grievances’
The op-ed, titled "Turkey Has Legitimate Grievances Against the U.S.," listed Turkey's three grievances:
"First, America’s diffident Syria policy. Ankara followed Washington’s lead in backing the Syrian people’s attempt to overthrow the dictator Bashar Assad. But when Turkey shot down a Russian combat jet violating its airspace in 2015, President Obama treated the episode more as a bilateral spat between third parties than as a conflict between America’s key regional ally and a more powerful adversary of U.S. interests. Left on its own, Ankara realized it had little choice but to accommodate Moscow. Vladimir Putin’s steadfastness trumped Mr. Obama’s aloofness."
They stated that this paved the way for the relationship that begot the S-400 deal.
For the second issue, they said Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETO) leader Fetullah Gulen's residence in the U.S. was defined by James Jeffrey, a former ambassador to Ankara, as "embarrassing" and added: "How, many Turks ask, can the U.S. harbor such a despicable figure?"
The piece depicted the third grievance as "most consequential" as the Obama administration decided to arm and train YPG terrorists as well as embed U.S. special forces with them in 2016.
"Rather than work with Turkey, the U.S. chose to support the Syrian wing of the PKK, which the Turkish public holds responsible for decades of warfare and tens of thousands of deaths. The PKK represents a grave threat to the Turkish Republic, and Turks across the political spectrum loathe it."