Saturday, January 27, 2018

GPI Held a Panel Discussion:

"New Security Concerns at the Turkey-Syria Border"

Will Washington and Ankara Agree to Resolve the New Crisis at the Turkey – Syria Border? 

America's announced and later modified plan to train and arm a Syrian border protection force composed of Syrian elements (Arabs and Kurds) has created new tensions between the U.S. and Turkey. It is clear that whatever the U.S. plans regarding the size and purpose of this mostly Syrian Kurdish force may be, a military force largely composed of the YPG is viewed by Ankara as a major security threat, since the YPG is openly affiliated with the PKK, an internationally recognized terror organization.

While Washington stated that it is aware of Turkey's strong concerns regarding the YPG and that they will be addressed to Turkey's satisfaction, Turkey is adamant in opposing what it calls a terror force to be deployed, with U.S. assistance, right across its southern border. A few days ago Ankara acted according to its stated intentions of neutralizing this threat by initiating a military attack against Kurds in North Western Syria. Will this military intervention escalate? Or will Washington and Ankara come to an understanding that will satisfy Ankara’s security concerns?  

In order to shed light on this new serious security crisis which further complicates an already fractured Middle Eastern scenario, the Global Policy Institute convened a panel of distinguished experts, Americans and Turkish, to discuss this potentially explosive matter.

The Panel included: Burak Kuntay, President of the American Studies Center at Bahcesehir University, Istanbul; Colonel Douglas Macgregor (ret), Military Analyst, and Executive VP, Burke-Macgregor Group LLC; Paolo von Schirach, President of the Global Policy Institute and Professor of International Affairs at BAU International University; Martin Sieff, Journalist, Global Affairs Fellow, Global Policy Institute and Professor, BAU International University. The Moderator was Cenk Karatas, Journalist, Global Affairs Fellow, Global Policy Institute.

The consensus among the panelists is that there is no clear, achievable U.S. strategic goal regarding Syria. The panelists also agreed that the mostly Kurdish “border force” announcement was ill-advised, since it is clear to all observers that Turkey will never accept a standing a mostly Syrian Kurdish military force, closely associated with the PKK, at its southern border. The panelists expressed the hope that President Trump may be able to de-escalate this dangerous crisis involving U.S. backed forces and Turkey, a NATO ally, through direct contacts with the Turkish Government.

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