In the fight against ISIS, U.S. policymakers have been increasingly confounded by the fact that two crucial allies, Turkey and the Kurds, are locked in a violent conflict on both sides of the Turkish-Syrian border. While Washington’s plans for defeating ISIS rely on airbases in Turkey and Kurdish troops in Syria, the Turkish government continues to insist that Washington’s Syrian Kurdish partners are no different from the Kurdish terrorists against which it is fighting at home. In the absence of a more effective U.S. plan for addressing the situation, Turkey’s domestic conflict now threatens to not only undermine the war against ISIS but also destabilize Turkey, damage U.S.-Turkish relations, and prolong the Syrian conflict.
The Bipartisan Policy Center hosted an expert panel discussion that addressed the evolving relationship among Turkey, Syria and the Kurds, with a focus on the implications for U.S.-Turkish relations and U.S. policy in Syria. As an already complicated situation risks causing a major crisis between Washington and its allies, understanding the dynamics has become more important than ever.
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Co-Chair, BPC’s Turkey Initiative
Former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey
Author, Blood and Belief
Junior Researcher, Moshe Dayan Center for Middle Eastern and African Studies
Public Policy Fellow, Wilson Center
Reporter, The Washington Post