Feb 23 2018

U.S. relationship with Turkey has been tested - representative

In a scathing commentary he wrote to the Armenian-American bilingual daily, Asbarez, U.S. Representative Adam Schiff said that the U.S. relationship with Turkey has been tested by Turkey's denial of the Armenian genocide, significant strategic differences and the increasingly authoritarian character of the Turkish political system under the rule of the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, on Wednesday.

"The strains in the US-Turkey relationship are becoming gaping rifts, with major implications for our bilateral relationship," wrote the Democratic representative from California, "With Erdogan’s drive to consolidate power, only intensified by a failed coup, Turkey has veered away from democracy and down the path towards autocracy." 

Schiff criticised Turkey's operation in Syria against Kurdish forces (PYD). The U.S. forces have been working with PYD militants for their fight against ISIS, despite the Turkish government's objections.

"Now, with ISIS losing ground, Turkey has taken its war against Kurdish nationalism into northwestern Syria and the territory of Afrin, fighting the U.S. backed Kurdish forces who helped combat ISIS," Schiff wrote.

Schiff said that Turkey's willingness to use threats to intimidate U.S. policymakers and the Turkish government's "ferocious and well-funded lobbying campaign" stopped successive Presidents and Congresses from directly addressing the Armenian Genocide.

"Turkey never should have been given an effective veto over how America talks about an issue as important as genocide. Turkey’s veto power has become all the more untenable as it becomes more authoritarian, undermines U.S. security, and even threatens our troops," Schiff wrote.