No other terror network has as much support as the PKK

No other terror network has as much support as the PKK

Initial political and armed support lent to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) by the Soviet Union, Syria and Greece has now spread to Europe and the United States. 

As the Syrian civil war has gone on, Washington has increasingly partnered with the PKK and the Democratic Union Party-People’s Protection Units (PYD-YPG), which are all interlinked. Throughout this process, the U.S. has attempted to craft them into a regular military force, trained and decorated with the latest guns. This attempt is still continuing in northeastern Syria.

Besides the military support and cooperation that the U.S. is providing, it is also supporting the formation of a political presence for the PKK in northern Syria. It is doing all it can for the PKK-PYD-YPG front to secure political, administrative and judicial authority. It is providing a safe zone for the PKK to restructure local administrations and create governmental formations in the region. It is no longer convincing for the U.S. to argue that this cooperation is established simply in pursuit of defeating the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The U.S. has therefore openly provided political and military support to the PKK, which it officially considers a terrorist group, and its Syrian offshoots the PYD and the YPG. This situation goes against Washington’s commitments to the United Nations and NATO, as well as its international policy on fighting terror. The PKK’s plan to settle and plant roots on the Turkish border with northern Syria, extending all the way to the Mediterranean - with the open and weighty support it has received from the U.S. – has been crushed by Turkey’s intervention. The Euphrates Shield Operation in 2016 and the Olive Branch Operation into Afrin have halted the U.S. plan supporting the PKK.

The PKK has seen the reality of things and changed tactics to pursue its ambitions. It has once again understood that it cannot withstand the force of the Turkish Armed Forces – either in Afrin or elsewhere. Despite the propaganda power it discovered during ISIL’s siege of Kobane in 2014, the PKK lost subsequent street and trench battles in southeast Turkey.

It wanted to give it another try in Afrin but it could not make gains from the trenches, tunnels and barricades it constructed over the years in Afrin to stop the advance of the Turkish Armed Forces and the Free Syrian Army (FSA). It therefore brought members from other parts of Syria to Afrin, forcing the Turkish Armed Forces to engage in urban combat in order to damage its image. Doing this, it aimed to use civilians in Afrin as human shields and block exits of the city. The entire world saw how the PKK placed hand grenades by the roads and tried to block civilians attempting to leave the city through drone footage.

The PKK also attempted to influence Western publics, which were already ready to be influenced. One of the lies last week was that the Turkish Armed Forces bombed an Afrin hospital, killing civilians and children. However, the drone footage was enough to debunk these efforts all at once. The world saw that the hospital is still standing, without even minor damage to it.

It was also interesting how anti-Turkish lobbies in the U.S. published advertisements in newspapers simultaneously. But because it could not create the perception it aimed to create about Turkey in the global arena, the PKK’s lies ultimately went down the drain. And despite extensive U.S. support and the armed precautions taken, the PKK ultimately had to empty Afrin when faced by the Turkish Armed Forces and the FSA.

What the PKK and its offshoots are aiming for has long been clear and is not big news for Turkey. What must be highlighted in this regard is the U.S.’s stance on the issue. The U.S., with the support it has provided to the PKK, is currently siding with the opponents of Turkey. It should finally refrain from doing so once and for all.

YPG, PKK, PYD, Kobane, FSA, Turkey, Operation Olive Branch, Operation Euphrates Shield