NATO nearing worst crisis as U.S., Turkey face off in Syria – Kathimerini

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization “is sliding into the worst crisis since its foundation” as Turkey and the United States face off form opposite sides in Syria, wrote Costas Iordaninas for the Greek newspaper Kathimerini.

 Turkey launched a military incursion into northwest Syria on Jan. 20 to fight the mostly-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the Afrin area. The United States considers the YPG an ally in the region, and U.S. troops are positioned in the area east of Afrin, which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has vowed to attack next.

The United States military has ignored Erdoğan’s appeal to withdraw the troops from the region, leading to a significant risk of a military engagement between the two NATO allies, said Iordaninas’s piece.

 This escalation is the “predictable” outcome of the United States arming and supporting Kurdish forces that Turkey considers a threat to its territorial integrity, wrote Iordaninas.

The writer compares these “circumstantial allies” and the negative consequences they sow to the Islamist fundamentalists armed by the United States to oppose the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

A Turkish exit from NATO could lead to disastrous consequences for Greece, given that war has been “repeatedly averted since the 1950s because the two countries are members of NATO”, wrote Iordaninas.
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