The armament of Kurdish rebels in Syria – which Turkey views as terrorist – is likely to be high on the agenda when Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with President Trump today.
Dr. Azat Zana Gündoğan, a visiting scholar with the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University studies the socio-spatial inequalities and social movements in the Middle East. He says that U.S. support for Kurdish groups has historically been crucial for their self rule.
“As the largest ethnic minority in the Middle East without a nation-state of its own, the Kurds have seized two favorable moments for self-rule. These moments arrived with military interventions by the U.S.
“After the Gulf War of 1991, Iraqi Kurdistan obtained semi-autonomy following the establishment of the no-fly zone. The 2003 invasion of Iraq gave way to the 2005 constitution which recognized the Kurdistan region. The Kurds in Iraq are now preparing for independence and the People’s Protection Units (YPG) appeared as the most effective force on the Syrian battlefield against IS.
“We may be witnessing a third historical opportunity for Kurdish independence with President Trump’s decision to arm the YPG. This is the substance of President Erdogan’s visit.”