Delist PKK, reward Syria’s Kurds – US political analyst

QAMISHLI, Syria (North Press) – “Delist the PKK. Reward allies,” argues Michael Rubin, an American policy analyst, in a new think piece for the Washington Examiner.

He argues that America’s indulgence of Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdgoan’s “irrational hatred” of Kurdish groups hurts the region and the war against Islamic State (ISIS).

According to Ruben, “the defeat of ISIS and PKK [the Kurdistan Workers’ Party] are mutually exclusive. Syrian Kurds sacrificed more than 12.000 men and women to fight ISIS at a time when Turkey and its Syrian proxies [the Syrian National Army (SNA)] supported the group.”

On the other hand, Turkey threatens Western security by holding Sweden and Finland’s accession to NATO hostage over the West’s supposed tolerance for the PKK.

The Turkish government has demanded ever-increasing numbers of PKK suspects from the Nordic countries before accepting their bids.

“Rather than indulge Turkey, it is time to stop pretending that Syrian Kurds – whatever their affiliation – are anything but allies in the war against terror and the fight for democracy,” Rubin argues.

He points out that listing the PKK as a terrorist group was never about the US security, as it was only added in the 1990s,  “when President Bill Clinton wanted to clinch a multibillion-dollar weapons deal with Turkey,” rather than when the group was at its most violent, in the 1980s.

“True, the PKK started as a Marxist insurgency if not terror group. So too did Nelson Mandela’s African National Congress. Both evolved,” Rubin says.

The analyst says worries about a deterioration in US-Turkish relations are overblown. “For decades, State Department handwringing led the White House to sidestep recognition of the Armenian genocide. Finally, President Joe Biden simply ripped the Band-Aid off […]When they called Turkey’s bluff, Erdogan blustered but ultimately did nothing. Nationalist tantrums aside, he needs the outside world more than the world needs Turkey.”

The analyst joins an increasing number of voices within the US political establishment, questioning Turkey’s reliability as a regional security partner.

The sale of F-16 fighters jets to Turkey currently hangs in the balance as Washington policymakers refuse to give the green light over Erdogan’s threats against neighbouring Greece and Syria, as well as its intransigence on Sweden’s accession to NATO.

“Only when Washington recognizes that Syrian Kurds are America’s best ally in a tumultuous region and stops succumbing to Turkish blackmail can a new, more peaceful order move forward, both within Turkey and throughout the region,” Rubin concludes.

 Reporting by Sasha Hoffman