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Turkey targets all parties with ‘Kurdistan’ in their title

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Turkey targets all parties with ‘Kurdistan’ in their title

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Jan 14, 2019 2:29 am

Trump threatens to 'devastate' Turkey

US President Donald Trump has threatened to "devastate Turkey economically" if it attacks Kurdish forces in Syria following a planned pullout of US troops

In two tweets on Sunday, Mr Trump said that he didn't want the Kurds to provoke Turkey either.

US forces have fought alongside a Kurdish militia in northern Syria against the Islamic State (IS) group.

Turkey, however, regards the People's Protection Units (YPG) as terrorists.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spoken angrily about American support for the group and vowed to crush it.

Mr Trump's comments on Sunday followed further criticism of his abrupt decision to withdraw US forces from Syria.

A senior figure in Saudi Arabia's royal family, Prince Turki al-Faisal, told the BBC it would have a "negative impact" that would benefit Iran, Russia and Syria's President Bashar al-Assad.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is currently in the Saudi capital Riyadh as he tours the Middle East to reassure US allies in the region.

What did Mr Trump say?

The president defended his decision to withdraw troops, saying any remaining IS fighters could be attacked from an unspecified "existing nearby base".

He did not say how Turkey's economy would suffer if it attacked the YPG. Mr Trump also mentioned the creation of a "20-mile safe zone", which the BBC's Barbara Plett Usher says hints at the kind of solution Mr Pompeo is trying to negotiate.

The president also said that Russia, Iran and Syria had been the biggest beneficiaries of US action in Syria and it was time to bring American soldiers home.

President Trump shocked allies and faced strong criticism at home last month when he ordered US forces to immediately begin withdrawing from the approximately 30% of Syria controlled by the YPG-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance.

What has Mike Pompeo said?

Over the weekend, Mr Pompeo said he had spoken to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu by phone and was "optimistic" that an agreement could be reached with Turkey to protect Kurdish fighters. He did not give details.

Speaking in Abu Dhabi, Mr Pompeo said the US recognised "the Turkish people's right and Mr Erdogan's right to defend their country from terrorists".

"We also know that those fighting alongside us for all this time deserve to be protected as well," he added.

In Riyadh, the secretary of state is expected to discuss Iran and the conflicts in Yemen and Syria, US media report, as well as seeking an update on the investigation into the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

Mr Khashoggi, a critic of Saudi Arabia's rulers, was murdered at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul three months ago.

How many US troops are in Syria?

About 2,000 US military personnel are reported to be deployed in northern Syria.

Ground troops first arrived in autumn 2015 when then-President Barack Obama sent in a small number of special forces to train and advise YPG fighters.

The US did this after several attempts at training and arming Syrian Arab rebel groups to battle IS militants descended into chaos.

Over the intervening years the number of US troops in Syria has increased, and a network of bases and airfields has been established in an arc across the north-eastern part of the country.

Link to Article-Video-graph

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-46859164
Last edited by Anthea on Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:24 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Turkey targets all parties with ‘Kurdistan’ in their title

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Re: Trump threatens Turkish economy over Syrian Kurds

PostAuthor: Anthea » Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:26 am

US senator cautions Trump
against leaving Kurds armed in Syria


US Senator Lindsey Graham revealed that he suggested for President Donald Trump to slow down the withdrawal from Syria, so the YPG does not remain an armed threat to Turkey

"So I told President Trump if you withdraw and do not think this through, you are creating a nightmare for Turkey. President Obama created a nightmare for Turkey by arming elements of the YPG that are clearly tied to the PKK and in the eyes of Turkey this was devastating," Graham said in a statement to reporters in Ankara on Saturday.

Graham believes the US and Turkish militaries are already coordinating on a plan to disarm the YPG

“Here’s the good news: General Dunford, I think, has a plan that he’s working on with the Turkish military that can accomplish these objectives and they are to move the YPG elements away from Turkey,” said Graham, adding that heavy weapons in particular should be taken away.

US military officers previously have testified to Congress that the Peoples' Protection Units (YPG) is linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). The YPG denies that it is under the command of the PKK.

The PKK is designated as a terrorist organization by Ankara, Brussels, and Washington. It has fought an off-and-on sometimes armed guerilla conflict against the Turkish state for nearly four decades.

The PKK argues its fight is justified in order to obtain better cultural, political, and minority rights in Turkey.

The decision to arm the YPG in Syria was deemed necessary by the US military to defeat ISIS in northwest Syria. Their fighters, who are diverse but predominately Kurdish, comprised the bulk of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).

Trump announced on December 18 that the US would withdraw forces from Syria because ISIS was essentially defeated. Four Americans were killed in an attack claimed by ISIS in Manbij on Thursday.

Analysts have cautioned that although ISIS no longer controls 99 percent of the lands east of the Euphrates it once did, the ideology and threat it poses continues in addition to thousands of estimated fighters.

Graham has been in Turkey meeting with high-level officials including President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as well as the defense and foreign ministers.

"A withdrawal that does not accomplish the objectives that I have outlined is going to lead to a broader war," said Graham. "It will not end the war against ISIS; it will start a new one."

Graham believes it is irresponsible to withdraw without first disarming the YPG.

"This war that I fear will be one of necessity by Turkey to go into Syria and clear out the armed elements that Syria believes represent a terrorist threat to the sovereignty of Turkey," he said, before correcting "Syria believes" to "Turkey believes."

"They will have to be a force of arms to deal with the people we armed..." he added.

Additionally, Graham argued the withdrawal should accomplish two other objectives: “the enduring defeat of ISIS" and the “containment of Iran.”

Graham said he understands the desire to withdraw, but criticized the lack of a plan from the US administration "as chaos."

"I'm encouraging President Trump not to do what President Obama did which is just to 'get out' and not understand what happens after you get out," implored the senator.

Critics argue that a US withdrawal from Syria undermines its anti-Iran policy.

Graham called Assad "an Iran in another name," adding that Damascus' control of the fields would result in oil going to Tehran.

“Our withdrawal cannot be a victory for Iran," he said, reiterating a plan that is not well thought out will allow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to takeover oil fields in northeast Syria.

ISIS took over many oil fields beginning in late 2013 as the country was engulfed in civil war.

"Equally important is to protect Turkey and solve the problem we created for our Turkish allies," he said.

Graham is a member of three powerful Senate committees: Foreign Relations, Budget, and Appropriations. Additionally, the lawyer by trade is chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

Graham is a US Air Force veteran. He was in active service from 1982-1988 and a reserve until retiring as a colonel 2015.

In early January, Erdogan reportedly refused to meet with Trump's National Security Advisor John Bolton as Turkey was threatening an offensive east of the Euphrates against the YPG.

The ambassador came to Ankara with preconditions of protecting the Kurds who fought alongside the US-led international coalition to defeat ISIS, in effect the YPG.

While Graham cannot directly conduct foreign policy, he and other lawmakers can affect Trump's decision as Congress holds the purse strings.

The United States is yet to pass a budget for Fiscal Year 2019 due to Trump's insistence on congressional funding for the construction of a wall on the southern border with Mexico.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/syria/190120191
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Re: US and Turkish are coordinating a plan to disarm the YPG

PostAuthor: Anthea » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:19 pm

Emboldened Turkish state targets
parties with ‘Kurdistan’ in their titles


Turkey’s public prosecutor has begun investigations into Kurdish political parties using the word ‘Kurdistan’ in their titles, targeting two so far

"This decision is not a solution for Turkey. It will rather embolden our belief and struggle to protect ourselves. This will be a legal fight between the government and us," Bayram Bozyel, an official from Kurdistan Socialist Party (PSK), told Rudaw.

He claimed the move was politically motivated.

In addition to PSK, the investigation has also targeted the Kurdistan Freedom Party (PAK).

The Kurdistan Democratic Party-Turkey (KDP-T) was warned when it was established in 2014 to remove "Kurdistan" from its name, but it ignored the advice, leader Mihemed Emin Kardas, leader of PDK-T, told Rudaw.

Authorities renewed the warning when the Kurdistan Region in Iraq held its independence referendum in 2017, Kardas added, saying that no action has been taken against them for the name yet.

The Kurdish Freedom and Socialist Party (OSP) recently changed its name to the Kurdistan Communist Party (KKP). They have not encountered any problems with their name.

The party says the government does not want any political activity under the name of Kurds and Kurdistan.

"The Republic of Turkey was established on the principle that there were no Kurds or Kurdistan and they kept that policy to date," said Yasar Kazici, a KKP official, told Rudaw.

Turkey’s constitution stipulates that “The statutes and programs, as well as the activities of political parties shall not be contrary to the independence of the State, its indivisible integrity with its territory and nation ..."

Turkish authorities believe that having "Kurdistan" in a party's name violates this article since these parties consider the provinces of southeastern Turkey as the northern part of Greater Kurdistan.

According to the CIA World Factbook, Kurds make up 19 percent of Turkey's population, or about 15.5 million.

The largest pro-Kurdish party in Turkey does not have Kurdistan in its title – the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Although largely comprised of Kurdish members, it fights for greater minority, ethnic, and cultural rights for all citizens.

The only party which has waged an outright war against the Turkish state is the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is banned Turkey for its four decade, sometimes-armed, struggle against the state.

http://www.rudaw.net/english/middleeast/turkey/11022019
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