AFP 2016/ MANDEL NGAN
On Saturday, Mehmet Celik writing for the Daily Sabah blasted the “hero’s welcome” provided to three Americans who died fighting Daesh in Syria suggesting the posthumous commendations were out of place because they were “fighting on the side of YPG terrorists” in Syria and suggested that the United States honoring their fallen soldiers would “add a new level of tension in the already strained relations between Washington and Ankara over the US Partnership” with the Kurds.
The author advances the official position of the Turkish government that the People’s Protection Units (YPG) in Syria are an offshoot of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) – the latter of which is characterized as a terrorist organization by both the United States and Turkey. The State Department, however, does not consider the Syrian Kurds to be associated with the PKK and has not labelled the group as such.
For some time, American Special Forces have been embedded with Kurdish forces in Syria in the effort to oust Daesh terrorists from strategic supply routes most prominently of which has been Manbij which US and YPG Forces were able to evict the jihadists from the critical Syrian city.
The Obama Administration’s position of balancing their allegiance between the Kurds and Turks has become more complicated in recent weeks with Turkey dispatching forces towards and engaging in airstrikes against Kurdish forces along the Turkish-Syrian border with many defense analysts concerned that Turkey could inadvertently strike the US Special Forces embedded with the Kurds.
The three US soldiers were identified as Levi Shirley, 24, Jordan McTaggart, 22, and William Savage, 27, whose caskets arrived in Chicago from Syria earlier this week. The families of the slain soldiers will be presented with a flag flown over the US Capitol in order to honor the sacrifices made by the men who gave their lives on behalf of the United States in fulfilling their orders and duties.
Celik disagrees with this treatment for the fallen American soldiers saying that “Despite Ankara repeatedly reiterating that the PYD and YPG constitute a national security threat for Turkey along its southern border due to its affiliation with the PKK, Washington says that the PYD and YPG are partners in the fight against Daesh in Syria, ignoring Turkey’s warning.”
Photo: JSC Sukhoi Company
Celik believes that America should not honor its fallen soldiers or risk further alienating Turkey as an ally due to the longstanding conflict that exists between the Turks and Kurds before going on to criticize the United States for having yet to extradite the alleged July 15 coup leader Fethullah Gulen for lack of requisite evidence under the American legal process.
Turkey has long been one of America’s most vital NATO allies with its Incirlik Air Base serving as a critical hub for entry into the Syrian theory and for projecting influence throughout the Middle East, but relations have wavered over the last year due to humanitarian concerns and allegations made by the Turkish government that the US government participated in the failed coup attempt in July.