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Türkiye warns US over PKK terror group’s alleged northern Syria elections

Türkiye warns US over PKK terror group's alleged northern Syria elections U.S President Joe Biden and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, 24 August 2016, Ankara, Türkiye (AP Photo)
By Newsroom
Jun 21, 2024 8:05 AM

In her column for Turkish news daily Hurriyet, columnist Hande Firat sheds light on Türkiye’s unwavering stance against PKK terrorist group’s alleged elections in northern Syria. As tensions mount, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s remarks highlight Ankara’s readiness to confront any attempts to legitimize the elections.

Firat explores Türkiye’s strategic moves within the complex geopolitical landscape involving the U.S. and Syria, revealing Ankara’s proactive measures and diplomatic engagements to safeguard its national security interests and regional stability.

Special warning note sent to intelligence agencies

Türkiye has informed all relevant actors that it will not allow these elections to take place.

Intelligence agencies of various countries have been warned with a special note.

According to Firat, Ankara’s current expectation is to ensure that the elections do not take place. Therefore, the efforts are ongoing.

‘We will come head to head’, Türkiye clearly warns US

Firat noted that the northern Syria dossier is with U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

Recently, Ankara explicitly told the U.S., “You are interpreting developments through CENTCOM. You are not seeing the efforts toward state-building and politics.”

When American officials claimed they were unaware, Ankara responded as:

If elections are allowed and state-building efforts continue, Türkiye and the U.S. will come head to head in the region.


Status quo will not change for now

With the U.S. presidential elections approaching, Firat raises the question: “Will the U.S. withdraw if former U.S. President Donald Trump comes back?”

Ankara believes the U.S.’ general policy remains unchanged. If the alleged elections in Syria are brought up again, Ankara will implement its policy without concessions.

Firat suggests that the U.S. is pulling back from the dossier to avoid being caught unprepared if Trump gets elected and decides to withdraw. During Trump’s presidency, he had a series of meetings with President Erdogan on this matter and made the withdrawal decision but couldn’t convince his state system.

Therefore, Ankara does not expect any changes in this matter in the new term. With Iran and Russia in the region, a U.S. withdrawal is not realistic.

Moscow believes that America is exploiting Syria’s oil through the terrorist group and is closely monitoring the companies established by Americans.

Ankara intensifies efforts against terrorist organizations

Ankara has significantly ramped up targeted operations against senior leaders of terrorist organizations, a strategy initiated during Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan’s tenure.

These operations focus on leaders who have served for approximately 18-20 years. In response to the elimination of their key figures, terrorist organizations have made concealing these leaders a top priority.

Fırat also mentions that the fight is not limited to operations. Ankara aims to terminate the activities carried out by the political extensions and front organizations of terrorist groups.

Also, Ankara is engaging European intelligence agencies, inviting them to briefings on PKK/PYD and FETO activities. The central message conveyed to these agencies is clear: “While acting on this matter, know that it is a terrorist organization for Türkiye.”

In addition to these diplomatic efforts, Türkiye is actively working to curb the fundraising activities of PKK/PYD/YPG within Europe. By targeting the financial networks that support these groups, Ankara aims to weaken their operational capabilities and reduce their influence both domestically and internationally.

Enigma of talks with Damascus

According to Firat, the Ankara-Damascus talks have turned into a complete enigma. When relevant actors in the region are asked, they say, “Ankara and Damascus should talk.” However, different steps or statements emerge afterward.

The four-way intelligence meeting was planned for last September. However, the Damascus administration decided not to participate at the last moment, conditioning their participation on the withdrawal of Turkish troops.

Firat reports that Ankara conveyed to its Russian and Iranian counterparts, “If Syria comes with these conditions, there will be no meeting. Meetings cannot be held with preconditions.” Ankara’s policy is to sit at the table without preconditions.

For Türkiye, it is crucial to both cooperate against the terrorist organization and ensure the safe return of refugees.

Hande Firat

Firat poses this question: While Ankara says, “Let’s sit at the table without preconditions,” and Russian and Iranian officials convey in conversations that four-way talks should begin, how does Damascus put forth preconditions to almost avoid the table?

The Damascus regime remains silent against Russia, Iran, the U.S., and terrorist groups. However, which power is urging Damascus to demand preconditions for negotiations with Türkiye? According to Firat, Ankara is well aware of the two countries influencing Damascus in these talks and on the ground.

Last Updated:  Jun 28, 2024 10:05 AM