Erdogan Pressing for Joint Operation with Russia to Obliterate U.S.-Backed Kurdish Fighters
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, whose relationship with the United States grows increasingly tenuous, told the Russian RIA news agency that he plans to suggest a joint military operation to obliterate the American-backed YPG Kurdish fighters when he visits Moscow on Tuesday. The Turkish strongman said all preparations on the Turkish side are complete and ready to begin the operation. Such a mission would make relations with the United States even more problematic than they already are because of a promise by President Trump. When the U.S. announced that it was withdrawing its forces from Syria, the safety of the Kurdish allies who stood to be slaughtered by the Turks was raised as a primary concern, eliciting a vow from President Trump to make sure the Kurdish fighters would be safe. And even more so, Erdogan has handed the U.S. and the entire NATO alliance a challenge as it seeks to buy and deploy the S-400 missile defense system from Moscow and the secretive stealth F-35 fighter jet from the U.S.-led coalition. Analysts and defense officials agree that the Ankara shopping list amounts to a national security threat. There is little doubt that unless an agreement is reached, the threat of U.S. sanctions against Turkey will prevent Erdogan from acting against American interests.