(National Review) Where to begin? Perhaps with the basic fact that there is no Kurdish territory. There is Syrian territory on Turkeys border that the Kurds are occupying a situation that itself serves to inflame and complicate" the region for reasons I shall come to. Ethnic Kurds do not have a state. They live in contiguous parts of Syria Turkey Iraq and Iran. Most are integrated into these countries but many are separatists. The Kurds have been our allies against ISIS but it is not for us that they have fought. They fight ISIS for themselves with our help. They are seeking an autonomous zone and ultimately statehood. The editorial fails to note that the Kurds we have backed led by the YPG (Peoples Protection Units) are the Syrian branch of the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers Party) in Turkey. The PKK is a militant separatist organization with Marxist-Leninist roots. Although such informed observers as Michael Rubin contend that the PKK has evolved" it remains a formally designated foreign terrorist organization under U.S. law. While our government materially supports the PKKs confederates ordinary Americans have been prosecuted for materially supporting the PKK. The PKK has a long history of conducting terrorist attacks but their quarrel is not with us. So why has our government designated them as terrorists? Because they have been fighting an insurgent war against Turkey for over 30 years. Turkey remains our NATO ally even though the Erdogan government is one of the more duplicitous and anti-Western actors in a region that teems with them as Ive detailed over the years (see e.g. here here here here and in my 2012 book Spring Fever). The Erdogan problem complicates but does not change the fact that Turkey is of great strategic significance to our security.
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