Rojava's Witness

The Kurds and Ankara's Real Strategic Nightmare

Turkish army tanks take position on top of a hill near Mursitpinar border crossing in the southeastern Turkish town of Suruc in Sanliurfa province, October 11, 2014. Umit Bektas / Reuters

As most observers predicted, Turkey’s campaign against the Islamic State (also called ISIS) has quickly become a cat’s-paw for a war against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Whereas Turkey’s July 23 assault on ISIS involved a single sortie against a small cluster of targets in Syria, from July 24 to July 26 the Turkish air force conducted over 150 sorties against more than 300 PKK targets in Iraq. And, as of July 30, whereas the Turkish military had killed somewhere around nine ISIS fighters, it reportedly killed 190 PKK militants and wounded over 300.

The goal of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his AKP government is clear. They want to unravel the partnership between the PKK-affiliated Democratic Union Party (PYD) and the United States. U.S.-supported PYD victories against ISIS have enabled the party to build a contiguous stretch of territory in northern Syria, which runs from Kobani to the Iraqi border.

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