U.S. should be planning for consequences of Turkey’s rhetoric – analyst

The United States should not assume that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is the sole problem in Turkish-American relations, nor that relations will necessarily improve, said Nicholas Danforth of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C..

The Turkish press will not give up on its anti-Americanism and nor will the United States stop supporting the majority-Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) in the near future, Danforth said.

“This means that U.S. policymakers should be planning for the consequences of today’s alarming rhetoric,” he said. “At the very least, it might be a good time to check out some of the alternatives to İncirlik,” he said referring to the U.S. air base in southern Turkey.

The latest Afrin operation has prompted a new wave of anti-American rhetoric both from the Turkish press and from the government and nationalist politicians, Danforth said.

“Already, Turkish papers and politicians are presenting Turkey’s incursion into Syria as a battle against the United States itself – a narrative that will poison the bilateral relationship regardless of how events unfold in the near future,” he said.

“Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, commenting on U.S. military support for Syrian Kurdish forces, announced recently that it was proof Washington ‘had designs against Turkey’. Meanwhile, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ announced that U.S. soldiers in uniforms of the Kurdish YPG ‘could be targeted’ as well.

“Most recently, when five Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack on a Turkish tank, the Turkish press was unanimous in declaring, absent any evidence, that they had been killed by a rocket provided by the United States,” Danforth said.