Intrigue: USA — Kurds — Türkiye — ISIS

US Ambassador to Turkey John Bass

A scandal is brewing in Turkey over the publication of material in the Turkish newspaper Cumhuriyet suggesting that the U.S. ambassador to Turkey, John Bass, is instructing the leadership of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), which is considered a «Kurdish» party, on how to behave in relation to the Turkish operation against Kurdish terrorists.

Apparently realizing that the PDP’s firm stance of refusing to dissociate itself from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) could lead to its defeat in an all-out war with Turkey, the American ambassador advised the party’s leadership to «be patient,» according to Cumhuriyet. If this information is to be believed, he told his Kurdish counterparts that after Turkey launches its operation against the Islamic State (ISIS), the pressure on Kurdish terrorists will decrease. «Wait a month or two,» Cumhuriyet quoted him as saying.

The U.S. Embassy angrily denied the Cumhuriyet article, but acknowledged the fact of Ambassador Bass’s meeting with representatives of the «Kurdish party,» stating that nothing of the sort was said during the meeting. This raises the interesting question of where Cumhuriyet could have obtained such information. There are two possibilities: either one of the participants of the meeting leaked the information, or the Turkish intelligence services fabricated it and planted it in the press in order to deal another blow to the «Kurdish party» and at the same time rebuke the USA for instructing its «fifth column» in Turkey.

The most important aspect of this situation, however, is the content of the words attributed to the American ambassador. It reflects a widespread dissatisfaction in the West with Turkey’s actions, which on the surface are aimed at fighting ISIS, but in reality are directed against Kurdish terrorists. The West wants the opposite. Erdogan is currently trying to maneuver by declaring that the operation against ISIS will begin «soon» and by making the Turkish military base in Incirlik available for the deployment of new American military aircraft to carry out strikes against ISIS. However, Turkey is actively fighting Kurdish terrorists, who are responding in kind, leading to a full-scale terrorist war in the country that has claimed the lives of Turkish soldiers, police and civilians in attacks orchestrated by the terrorists.

The key question remains whether or not Turkey will launch a ground operation on Syrian territory. A recent analytical article by «Syria Today» raises this question and provides information about the withdrawal of Jabhat al-Nusra from the line of contact with ISIS in areas where a Turkish operation may begin. Such a move indicates that the operation is likely to take place, as no one would willingly abandon positions gained with blood. The article also asks which group Turkey might rely on in such a ground operation: the Free Syrian Army or more pronounced Islamic groups such as Ahrar al-Sham, which, unlike Jabhat al-Nusra, is not affiliated with al-Qaeda.

In any case, even if the statements attributed to Ambassador Bass are not true, they reflect the complexity of interests and contradictions in the region, and the ongoing fight against terrorism remains one of the main challenges for the international community.

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