Iran, US play the usual card against Turkey: PKK
PKK is more than a domestic terrorist organization for Turkey and it is purposely landscaped as a group that strives for the rights of Kurds. However, the reality is that it is a tool used for punishing Turkey and forcing it to accept the policies that its foes and some so-called partners want.
It is openly known that Europeans, the Americans and those who get fed at the skirts of Iran are happily collaborating with the PKK and its affiliates to punish the outspoken Turkish leadership. When Ankara had sour relations with Moscow after Turkey downed a Russian jet, Kremlin turned to the PKK card too by allowing terrorist group’s affiliates to open up an office in Moscow.
Now that pro-PKK Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputies are sent behind bars for their terrorism activities and PKK’s dirty works in Syria and Iraq are at its peak, it would be more convenient to explain why Turkey and its policies are being targeted through the PKK.
Syria policy: NATO ally US in bed with PKK
Despite Turkey’s harsh reactions, the United States has started an offensive with the PKK’s Syrian wing to "liberate" Raqqa from Daesh. Ankara repeatedly called for a joint Raqqa operation with the local Free Syrian Army groups but Washington opted to work with the Syrian affiliate of a group that it listed as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). One may understand that the U.S. turning a blind eye to the atrocities of the PYD/SDF like it does to Assad’s crimes, but it is unexplainable to see a NATO member helping a terrorist organization to hold ground at the NATO borders. Turkey insisted that the Euphrates Shield operation that it started with the FSA groups had cleared its southern border from the Daesh and the same response could be given to the extremist group with the same group by inclusion of the US-led anti-Daesh Coalition. It is worthy to note that since the start of the operations, the FSA forces freed 167 villages from Daesh in northern rural Aleppo.
After all these logical demands from Turkey it would not be wrong to say that the U.S. is purposely strengthening a terrorist group that is in war with Turkey and it is also aiding the idea of dividing Syria into pieces. Turkey’s dreams of seeing an Assad-free united Syria and ending the PKK cancer for the Syrian Kurds − majority of whom oppose the ideology of the Stalinist terrorist group − seem to be highly disturbing the U.S.
Following the HDP arrests, the U.S. said: "As friend and ally, deeply troubled that government of Turkey has detained HDP leaders." Not that Washington only intervenes into internal affairs of Ankara it also calls Turkey a "friend and ally". The statement came two days before the U.S. started its Raqqa operation with the PKK-linked group.
Iraq: Shiite extremists flirting with PKK
Turkish troops had been stationed near the Bashiqa town of Mosul and they had been training local Kurds and Turkmens who were preparing to fight against Daesh. The central Iraqi government led by Haider al-Abadi had first been grateful for Turkey’s training program but now under full influence of Iran and the U.S., al-Abadi had changed his stance to a point where he threatened Turkey with war, probably with the army that fled Daesh raids two years ago.
Since waging a war against the Turkish state, the PKK had been stationed at the hideouts in northern Iraq mountains. The terrorist group’s presence in Iraq did not bother Baghdad government and today we see that PKK is now in collaboration with the Iran-supported central Iraqi government and the Shiite militias that are trying to get the control of Mosul.
Turkey says the Turkmen-populated town of Tal Afar is important for them and that the extremist Shiite militia group al-Hashd al-Shabi should not take part in the offensive on the city. Tal Afar is a city that is home to some 100,000 people and 80 percent of them are Sunni Turkmens. Al-Abadi’s recent meeting with the representatives of Tal Afar was boycotted by Sunni Turkmens, who oppose both Daesh and its Shiite version of al-Hashd. The offensive on Tal Afar is planned to be led by Shiite Turkmen of al-Hashd and they are craving to shed Sunni blood of fellow Turkmens. Al-Hashd invited the PKK to participate in the assault to retake the city and it has also condemned the HDP arrests and threatened Turkey with "full force" if Turkish troops start an offensive against Daesh in Iraq.
PKK has always been used as a proxy organization by those who wanted to have Turkey under their influence but it is now more obvious than ever. However, they are missing something now. If Turkey had entered into Syria on its own after failing to get its allies into a collaborative assault and if Ankara had deployed hundreds of military vehicles to its Mosul border despite Iraqi threats, this only means that the PKK plans of external factors will not make Turkey step out from its own agenda.
Mehmet Solmaz is the Brussels correspondent for Turkey’s Sabah daily. He also frequently appears in international media to comment on regional politics and conflicts. You can follow him on Twitter @MhmtSlmz.