AKİF BEKİ

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AKİF BEKİ >Would Putin further pressure our tolerance?

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The New York Times has reported that İlnur Çevik, the chief advisor to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,  “suggested that Turkey might tolerate some kind of Kurdish entity in northeastern Syria.” 

What if they do not stop there - and while they have Putin’s support on their back - what if they test Ankara’s tolerance in the west of the Euphrates River? 

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) autonomy conference started in Moscow on Feb. 15. The organizer is the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD). It is not under the knowledge of the Russian Foreign Ministry, but it is under the auspices of them. Is that a surprise? Well, no. 

Russian leader Vladimir Putin is an aggressive and reckless player in the super power game. He does not have any fear of Turkey. 

Whenever he easily overtrumps, he easily ups the ante. 

Can this be because it is perceived that showing understanding is a weakness and that flexibility is seen as a tendency for compromise? 

Russian jets shot our soldiers in al-Bab, we did not ask for an apology. We did not react fiercely. Our counterpart is not one that would understand from dignity and solemnity. They got away by saying “It was a mistake, we hit them by accident. Sorry.”

When we spared our sentences to avoid possible provocation, they saw that we wouldn’t make hell and would accept it like gentlemen - how could they stop there?

While we waited, they took another step. Our silence, obviously, was perceived as a sign of weakness and intimidation. They do not find our power alarming or take our deterrence seriously. They probably think that this, if not a challenge, is intimidation. 

You know what my concern is, Mr. İlnur Çevik? 

We were furious with the EU and the U.S. at several instances - even though they have defined the PKK as a terror organization - because they have not defined the PYD as terrorists. We were angry, we derailed our relations, accused them of disloyalty, told them they were not reliable; we mentioned their hypocrisy and fake friendships.  

We even said, “NATO cannot be our strategic ally when it leaves us alone in our fight against terror.”
But now look what Moscow is doing, the one we have turned our faces to after we said we were not out of alternatives and options. 

Let alone PYD, it does not even regard the PKK as a terror organization. Instead of blacklisting them, it embraces them. 

It only regards the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as a terror organization and Bashar al-Assad’s enemies as terrorists. In Syria’s future, they see a PYD-designated autonomous region and have put this in the constitutional draft for Syria as a suggestion. 

This is not enough for them. While the new Syria project is materializing, they are developing measures against Turkey so that we do not block them.  

To prevent the Euphrates Shield operation from spreading to unwanted regions, they are flying al-Assad’s flags in PYD cantons. For this, they have made the PYD and the Damascus regime sit on a table at a Russian base and convinced them to shake hands and reach an agreement. 

In the PYD-controlled areas, immunity for al-Assad is granted, protection is provided. 

Well, as the last move, they are hosting the PYD autonomy conference. 

In other words, they do not have a limit in testing Ankara’s patience. 

Could it be that as we move closer to Russia while distancing from the West, they think Ankara is bound to them and have no other place to go? 

While we expect our understanding to be interpreted as commonsense and expect them to pull themselves together, they do not; and on the contrary, they are thriving and expanding. 

After each imposition that we accept, a new one arrives. After every fait accompli, more comes. 

The more we assume a humble attitude, they press more, lose their respect for our declared official position.
 
As long as this understanding stance of ours continue regardless of what they do, as long as this well treatment, this meekness of ours continue, the PYD cantons we are tolerating today on the east of Euphrates, maybe will be asked for us to tolerate tomorrow. 

Maybe, we will be exposed to Russian fait accompli that will make us tolerate them in the west of the Euphrates? What do you say Mr. İlnur Çevik?

February/17/2017

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