An artificial visa problem created by the US
The U.S. suspension of visa applications from Turkey is a decision that has caused Turkish-American relations to plunge.
It was met with surprise both in Turkey and the world. It did not receive any support in international public opinion. Indeed, it was impossible for such a decision to receive support because it has no place either in the international relations or in bilateral relations. It was an absurd decision that has no place in relations between allies.
This disproportional and exaggerated decision from the U.S. added yet another artificial problem to the litany of issues in Turkey-U.S. relations.
Washington has cited the detention and arrest warrant issued for two Turkish citizens working in its Istanbul Consulate as the reason for this decision. Turkish prosecutors moved to investigate two Turkish citizens, who have no diplomatic immunities, under the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) probe. The U.S. response has only made both Turkish and U.S. citizens suffer.
As the search for a solution to this issue continues, a committee came from the U.S. to Turkey on Oct. 16. Let’s hope this committee is able to help salvage the situation and release both Turkish and American citizens from this damage.
Apart from this artificial visa crisis, there are a number of more important problems between Turkey and the U.S. Among the genuine problems that the Trump administration should preoccupy itself with are the serious differences in opinions and the clash of interests that keep Turkey and the U.S. on opposite fronts in Syria.
The U.S. is currently collaborating with the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and its militia the People’s Protection Units (YPG), which are the Syrian extensions of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The collaboration has reached such an extent that the U.S. has given heavy and advanced weapons to equip this group. Clearly, this does not comply with Turkey’s national interests.
The PKK-PYD-YPG front aims to form a government in the northern region of Iraq that will be ruled by the PKK. That is why it has willingly been playing a “subcontracting” land power role in the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria. It is waiting for its political reward, to be given for its commitment to fight instead of American soldiers.
This is currently the most important problem between Turkey and the U.S. Because of it, Washington has left Turkey no other option but to develop alliances with other actors. It is not realistic for the U.S. to now complain about this.
Turkey’s recently started Idlib operation in Syria is being carried out bearing all these facts in mind. Turkey plans to provide security inside Idlib while Russia will provide security from outside, in line with the Astana agreement.
With this move, Turkey aims to protect Idlib as a de-conflict zone and prevent further waves of migration from Aleppo. It also wants to prevent a “terror corridor” under the control of the PKK reaching as far as the Mediterranean Sea.
If Turkey does not take these precautions, a PKK-controlled state structure in the north of Syria could pose even more of an existential threat.