Erdogan sees the Kurds as terrorists, which is what he meant when he told Trump he would handle the terrorists in the area. Trump, of course, took this to mean the Islamic State (ISIS). The problem now is that the PYD and their YPG forces are in fact seen by many as offshoots of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the United States and the European Union. The Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government also holds this view. Regardless, once the first bombs fell on Kurdish civilians, the US should have moved its troops forward and at least engaged the Turkish-backed Free Syrian Army. They did not, which now raises the question of where the rest of the world’s forces are, who have decried Turkish aggression.
In a press conference, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley said the US will not go to war against Turkey, a fellow NATO member. This may explain the absence of NATO condemnation, but that alliance must be questioned. NATO was formed as a military response to Soviet aggression, with Turkey holding a strategic location on the border with the Soviet Union. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, the purpose of NATO was expanded to peacekeeping and expanding democracy. Turkey has lost its claim as a member since it has assisted terrorism in the region and ended any semblance of democracy in Turkey. The wheels of bureaucracy move slowly, but it’s time NATO accepted this fact and removed any protection Turkey has as a member state.
Unless Congress can convince Trump to reverse course, an unlikely outcome, Turkey must be held accountable for its actions and the war crimes committed by it forces and its proxies. Continuing to blame Trump and protests at the White House are of no use; it is like flogging a dead horse. At this time the eyes of the world and the protests and actions must be directed at Turkey. Syrian forces will do very little against the Turkish army and the Russians are unlikely to engage Turkey directly. In order to end this aggression, some form of credible military threat must be made.
Turkey must be made to feel pain and in the short term – militarily. It must also be taught that any future actions of this type will bring ruin to the whole of the nation in the form of economic sanctions. In this regard, the US Congress can and must act. Time is of the essence before thousands die. We cannot wait for committee hearings.