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Between Ankara and Rojava

Not Quiet on the Kurdish Front

Kurdish people carry flags and flash victory signs as they take part in a protest in the city of al-Derbasiyah, on the Syrian-Turkish border, against what the protesters said were the operations launched in Turkey by government security forces against the Kurds, February 9, 2016. Rodi Said / Reuters

Nearly seven years ago, U.S. President Barack Obama traveled to the Turkish capital, Ankara, to address the country’s parliament. Turkey was second only to Russia in its need of a “reset.” The war in Iraq had damaged Washington’s ties with Ankara, which had warned of the dangers of a U.S. invasion and paid a price for its destabilizing effects. The new U.S. president’s gauzy rhetoric before the Grand National Assembly about how Turkish and Americans soldiers stood shoulder-to-shoulder “from Korea to Kosovo to Kabul” and his admiration for “Turkey’s democracy” seemed to hit exactly the right notes. It was the dawn of a new era in which close relations with a large, prosperous, democratizing, predominantly Muslim country would exemplify a more constructive, less belligerent course for U.S. foreign policy.

Now at the tail end of that era, Washington seems to have gotten

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