Turkey’s Kurdish obsession explains Putin’s gains and US strains

The sale of a Russian missile defense system encapsulates how the tide has turned.

There are some countries where a single issue can explain pretty much everything that is wrong with its domestic and foreign policy. Turkey’s Kurdish predicament is such a case. Ankara’s historic failure to find democratic solutions to Kurdish ethnic demands has created a deeply insecure and chronically irrational Turkish political culture.

Almost one hundred years after its inception, the Turkish Republic is still obsessed with the fear and trauma of its foundational decades. Where others see manageable Kurdish demands for decentralization, federalism, and minority rights, Ankara sees terrorism and the beginning of an intractable, bloody disintegration.

Almost no issue at home or beyond borders escapes this Turkish mental eclipse when it comes to Kurds. From its military incursions into northern Syria, to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s transformation from reformer to autocrat, or from the Turkish purchase of Russian S-400s to Erdogan’s chances of winning yet another presidential election by dividing his opponents, Turkey’s Kurdish predicament has all the answers.

For anyone paying attention, the end of the Turkish-American strategic partnership also came because of Kurds. As a legacy of the Ottoman dissolution, Turkish nationalism has always been deeply suspicions of Western intentions. American wars in Iraq, with each one resulting in even more Kurdish autonomy, exacerbated this Turkish insecurity bordering on conspiracy theories: a Greater Kurdistan was in the making under American protection.

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Πηγή: responsiblestatecraft.org

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