Apr 29 2019

Turkey will end purchase of S-400 if U.S. lets it attack Syrian Kurds - columnist

Turkey would give up obtaining Russian S-400 air defence missiles if the United States gave President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan a free hand to mount an operation against the Syrian Kurds, columnist Diliman Abdulkader said in an analysis for the Jerusalem Post on Sunday.

"Erdoğan wants American’s to move out of the way in Syria so he can have his way with the Kurds, with an intent to slaughter them," said Adbulkader, director of the Kurdistan Project at the Endowment for Middle East Truth, a pro-Israeli think tank in Washington.

Turkey’s December 2017 deal to buy S-400 missiles from Russia has angered Washington, which says the weapons are not compatible with NATO systems and could be used to collect sensitive data that would undermine the defences of F-35 advanced fighter jets that Ankara also wants to buy from the United States.

Working closely with U.S. special forces, Syrian Kurds provided the main fighting force that defeated the Islamic State (ISIS) in Syria. Erdoğan has long asked U.S. President Donald Trump to break the U.S. relationship with Syrian Kurds, as he fears the autonomous area they have established in Syria would increase calls for self-rule from Turkey’s Kurdish minority rule.

"Erdoğan’s biggest fear is another autonomous Kurdish region similar to that of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, created by the U.S. in 1991 after it imposed a no-fly zone," the columnist said. "There are more than 20 million Kurds in Turkey; the fear that they will demand the same is unfathomable to any Turkish government."

Turkey sees the main Kurdish force in Syria as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) that has been fighting for self-rule inside Turkey for more than 30 years.

"Erdoğan is threatening a shift toward the east, as he has already done and will continue to do, unless America lets go of the Kurds."