The Obama-Erdogan Alliance

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Hurriyet Daily News, a major Turkish newspaper, reported on July 31, 2012 that a “senior US official visiting Turkey says Washington does not anticipate an autonomous Kurdish region in Syria and they favor the protection of Syria’s territorial integrity.” The official, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon on a visit to Istanbul, stated that they (the U.S.) did not anticipate an autonomous Kurdish region in Syria’s future, adding that they favored the protection of Syria’s territorial integrity and explained it to Turkey in a clear way. Gordon added, “Syria has a huge priority for both of us (U.S. and Turkey). We are coordinating very well on the question of Syria. I think we have very similar interests.”

That same day, Reuters reported on a telephone conversation President Obama initiated with his friend and designated sub-contractor in dealing with the Syrian crisis, Turkish Prime Minister (PM) Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In the talks, they discussed co-ordination of efforts to accelerate the process of political transition in Syria, including Bashar al-Assad leaving the administration, and the meeting of the Syrian people’s legitimate demands.

Obama and his administration have consistently supported the Syrian National Council and the Free Syrian Army, in which elements of the Muslim Brotherhood have a dominant voice.  That support sits well with Erdogan’s Justice and Development party (AKP), which has inspired the Islamist parties that rose to leadership in Tunisia and Egypt. For Erdogan and Turkey, the idea of an autonomous Kurdish region within a federal Syria is an anathema, and he is seeking to divide the Kurds of Syria, and scuttle the efforts to create an autonomous Kurdish region.  The Erdogan regime fears that such a move by Syrian Kurds would stimulate a call for similar autonomy by close to 20 million Turkish Kurds.

The unification of the various Kurdish factions in Syria in mid-July under the auspices of KRG President Masoud Barzani, forming the Supreme Kurdish Council, and now in control of large swaths of the border areas with Turkey, is challenging the Obama administration and Erdogan’s Islamist Turkey to reconsider the Kurds as a serious element in the future of Syria.  Until recently it seemed that one had to consider only the Alawi-led Assad regime and the largely Sunni-Arab opposition as the main contenders in the power struggle for control of a unitary Syria. The actions  recently taken by the Kurds (three million strong in Syria), who have not yet thrown their support to either side in the conflict, opens up new possibilities for a third way for Syria, a federated Syria, in which minority rights for  Kurds, Alawis, Christians and Druze would be guaranteed.

That said, it must be emphasized that the creation of the Supreme Kurdish Council is Masoud Barzani’s way to appease both Obama and Erdogan who seek to implement the Sunni-Arab agenda (supported by Qatar and Saudi Arabia) and Turkey’s interests, and at the same time control the Syrian Kurds, and prevent the formation of a federal Syria or an autonomous Kurdish region.  According to Sherkoh Abbas, President of the Kurdistan National Assembly of Syria, the Kurds of Syria resent the interference of both the neighboring governments and the Kurds from the region (Turkey, Iraq, and Iran),  Abbas added, “We reject any agreement that is short of federalism.”

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  • Chezwick

    To hear Charles Krauthammer refer to Erdogan as a "moderate Islamist" is indicative of the extent of the warping not only of our political discourse, but of language itself.

    • Radegunda

      Didn't Erdogan himself say that the term "moderate Islam" is an insult, because it's all (the bad stuff included …) just plain old "Islam"?

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Amazingly the Muslim Brotherhood controls Egypt, Turkey, America and anti-Christian,
    anti-Jewish efforts world wide, terrorist central is Obama's core motivation, Muslim Brotherhood,
    when will we see them on our voting ballots…………………….William

    • patriothere

      I wish you were right. But of course, you're not.

      • Kufar Dawg

        Not yet.

  • Schlomotion

    If Mr. Puder wants to vilify the President and cajole the US into adopting a Turkey policy that violates our national interests and supports the national interests of Israel instead, maybe he can rally some of the octogenarians in Boca Raton to gum Congressman Robert Wexler to death, since he gave the most glowing review of the upgraded partnership.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

      Schlo, why not actually address the real issue here? People of muslim heritage tend to support each other. Of course that's going to put Obama and turkey in the same basket.

      • PatriotforUS

        Roger, we must squelch folks like Schlo from putting out these views that go against the generally accepted consistent narrative.

        One big indicator of the current trend has been the kow-towing to Turkey at the drop of a hat – Turkey calls themselves moderate, are a democracy, supported the US in the Iraq war for liberation from Saddam, continue to support the Syrian terrorists against their legitimate leader Assad (whose benevolence is legendary in Syria, especially within his family) – who do they think they are fooling?

        Indeed they put Obama and turkey in the same basket – that in itself is an indicator of what is going on here…you just watch, the White House will soon ban Thanksgiving turkey just so as not to upset Turkey…they can't distinguish between upper case "T"s….(notice that the spellings of Islam, Muslim, their God etc. have no "t", only "terrorist" does – with two Ts).

        • patriothere

          Turkey is a member of NATO. israel is not. We have no defense agreements with israel. There are no treaties or anything with them that we have with Britain or canada for example.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            But turkey is turning to it's militant muslim heritage, Israel is not.

          • PatriotforUS

            Israel is never going to turn to it's militant muslim heritage? Is that what you meant, Roger? Can you please correct your post? Left wingers are prone to latch on to this inadvertent grammatical slip to call us all mouth-breathing ignoramuses.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

            They have none to return to, and I hope some leftist muslim friendly troll tries to make your point.

            I will skewer them.

          • Kufar Dawg

            I'm surprised Greece is still a member. Having Turkey in NATO is a joke. Turkey is nothing more than yet another islamofascist state at this point in time.

      • patriothere

        Why not address the real issue that you are a paid hack troll?

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLNn2YflwNs Roger

          Like you are?

          6 minutes ago @ Breitbart.com – Protests to greet Ahma… · 1 reply · 0 points
          I'm like jesus, I'm gonna chase you money changers out of the temple and out of town and of course out of this forum. Me and ohsoquiet and a few other REAL AMERICANS who are being PAID to be here like you Israeli PR men. I'm here to chase you filth out.

        • Kufar Dawg

          Having a little problem with projection I see.

  • Attila The Hun

    Erdoğan is nothing more than Islamist fool who thinks he can unite the entire Middle East under 21st century Ottoman alliance and coronating himself as the new Ottoman Caliph . What he and BHO don't want to accept is that the entire ME map it is totally unrealistic and the people who live in those countries are forced to live together even though they are mortal enemies and the hate for each other is rooted in their culture/religion. In some cases are totally invented countries and peoples, such as Palestinians Arabs. After his disastrous utopian foreign policy of zero problem with Turkey's neighbors, Now Erdoğan is venturing into a bigger disaster of trying to control the outcome of Syria's civil war and by extension save his country from disintegration . I made this prediction before and I'm sticking with it. By the end of the second decade The current ME map will be redrawn along ethnic, religious and geographical bounders at the cost of a lot of bloodshed and treasure. When the dust settles new nation will emerge and the old ones will shrink. Anyone remembers Yugoslavia? Make it 100 times more violent and bloody.

    • PatriotforUS

      If Right thinking folks would only take some to research, they would find ample evidence of this 21st century Ottoman alliance with Erdogan as the Caliph. I have personally seen evidence of this in discussion sections like this one. All one has to do is look in publications like Front Page. For some reason the Main Stream Pinko Liberal media has never taken the time to report on Caliph Erdogan so far – leaving it to patriots like Attila to report on these in the Discussion section of Front Page Magazine (the ONLY publication courageous enough to allow this to be published). I urge Front Page magazine to launch an investigation into the Caliph Erdogan Plot and his insidious plans to take over the Middle East…and who knows where they will stop? Perhaps Europe, and then across the Pond to the US…and then, the WORLD (what is left after the ME, Europe and the US is just Asia and ANZ…like we care)!

  • Flowerknife_us

    Fundamental transitional change=changing sides. Turkey used to be the sick man of Europe. Now Obama says Turkey will be one of the greatest Country's in the World? In Hell possibly.

    What does Turkey even produce besides Gravy anyway?

    • PatriotforUS

      They produce a lot of Turks, Flowerknife_us. This is the biggest threat from Turkey. I don’t think this is being emphasized enough. Simple difference…Turks can visit US and produce Americans here, but we Americans cannot go to Turkey and produce Turks. They are still Americans. This is a fundamental flaw in the laws of nature and our Constitution.

  • TessMax

    Good analysis.

    The State Department has had similar advice for Iraq's Kurds as well. As one of too many examples, National Security Advisor and later Sec.of State Condoleezza Rice spoke at the U.S. Institute of Peace on August 19, 2004. While delivering her words of wisdom regarding the necessity of creating a 22nd state for Arabs, she totally shot down questions relating to Kurdish anxieties and aspirations in Iraq. Here's some of what she had to say about those Arab aspirations, however:"The President believes that the Palestinian people deserve not merely their own state, but a just and democratic state that serves their interests and fulfills their decent aspirations." See next comment for second half of this response…

  • TessMax

    As for Kurds, however, she sang a different tune…

    Despite the bloodshed and turmoil in the Arab areas of Iraq; despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of Kurds have been killed by Iraqi and other Arabs over the decades; despite the fact that the Kurds have been marked as traitors because of their close ties to America; despite the fact that the most stable and democratic areas in Iraq are in the Kurdish areas…indeed, despite all of this and more, Rice brushed off a question regarding a Kurdish referendum on independence (which showed that at least 80% of the Kurds wanted this) with the following disdain:

    "…It's the role of leadership to convince people that they really ought to stay in the same body."

    A sickening disgrace….but no surprise given the State Department's track record towards scores of millions of non-Arab, non-Turkic peoples in the region–especially Jews and Kurds.

    • Kufar Dawg

      The fact that nearly all Jewish Kurds have made aliyah makes me think the Muslim Kurds still subscribe to the same xenophobic, violent, antisemitic ideology as any other muslim on the face of the planet. I have zero sympathy for them. They stood by while Turkish muslims slaughtered some 2 million Armenian and Assyrian Christians.

  • TessMax

    My book details the Kurdish struggle in great depth and detail. Indeed, its Foreword was mostly written by the same Sherkoh Abbas (of the SDC) mentioned in Mr. Puder's article. Find it at http://q4j-middle-east.com .I did extensive doctoral studies on this very subject.
    http://www.geraldahonigman.com

  • Kufar Dawg

    "a federated Syria, in which minority rights for Kurds, Alawis, Christians and Druze would be guaranteed." If you're going to dream, you might as well dream big. I think this has as much chance of happening as a magic Djinn coming out of my Grolsch beer bottle and offering me three wishes.

  • Jerusalem Center

    Kurdistan is a potential land bridge for many of the conflicts erupting in this part of the region. It provides a ground route for Iraqi Kurdistan to supply the Syrian Kurds as they seek greater autonomy from Damascus. But its use will depend on which power dominates the tri-border area between Iraq, Syria, and Turkey, for this area could equally provide Iran with a corridor for moving supplies to its Syrian surrogates and even to Hizbullah in Lebanon.
    http://jcpa.org/article/the-future-of-kurdistan-b