Turkey should not open Kurdish front


Turkey should not open Kurdish front
Members of leftist groups rally to call for an end to the violence between security forces and Kurdish militants in the southeast of Turkey, in Ankara, on February 13, 2016.

Turkey is in a fix, and is unable to clearly chalk out its priorities.

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Published: Mon 15 Feb 2016, 7:13 PM

Ankara's desire to take on the separatist Kurds is posing as its biggest security detriment. At a time when Turkey should focus its energies on fighting Daesh, its eagerness to open two fronts simultaneously is worrisome. Reports say Turkish forces shelled the Menagh airbase, which was seized on Thursday from Syrian rebels by a Kurdish militia group known as the YPG. This action in northern Syria is likely to have serious repercussions.
Turkey already has a serious problem at home with the Kurds, who have been campaigning for political autonomy, and these new skirmishes on the borders will further exacerbate the situation. Ankara's push into Syrian territory, as its tanks were spotted on the borders, will invite more trouble as it is already at odds with Damascus. This development has come just a day after Turkey announced its plans to opt for a ground invasion of Syria with Saudi forces. Turkey has every right to defend its territory from foreign incursions, but it should watch out that it is not taking any step in haste.
The United States and its allies have categorically advised Turkey to stop shelling the Kurds and focus on fighting the Daesh. But Ankara fears that Kurds are waging a campaign against security forces and undermining Turkish sovereignty by benefitting from the war in Syria. Turkey is in a fix, and is unable to clearly chalk out its priorities. This is evident from the geopolitical task that it has assigned itself by vowing to dislodge President Bashar Al Assad in Damascus. At the same time, it is at war with Daesh and the Kurds. Ankara should take stock of changing ground realities in the wake of Russian involvement in Syria and the lackluster military response from the West. There is no room for any misadventure at home and on the international frontiers.

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