Feb 15 2018

U.S. should help Turkey resolve Kurdish problem – expert

The United States should develop a more holistic strategy toward Turkey and the broader region, helping Ankara resolve its Kurdish problem, which is hindering efforts to stabilize the area, said Amanda Sloat in Foreign Policy

U.S. officials – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is in Turkey’s capital this week – should urge the Turkish government to resolve its Kurdish problem by resuming peace talk with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), said Sloat, a Robert Bosch senior fellow in the Center on the United States and Europe at the Brookings Institution. The fight with the PKK is destructive to Turkey’s domestic politics though helps Erdogan to exploit the conflict in the country’s pre-election environment, she said.

“The United States will not give Turkey everything it demands and needs to develop a strategy for Syrian governance and security that provides stability across the entire region, yet sustained dialogue builds trust in the process of finding a way forward,” Sloat said. “At the same time, U.S. officials must express their concerns about Turkish actions that are contributing to fractious ties. Both sides must work together to repair the relationship before there is nothing left.”

In turn, the United States should also press the PKK, through its relations with the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria, to return to its ceasefire in Turkey. Concurrently, Washington should instruct the YPG to sever ties with the PKK, she added.