08:20 GMT +3 hours25 May 2016
Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan addresses the audience during a meeting in Ankara, January 12, 2016.

'It’s a Power Game': Erdogan’s Ultimatum to Washington Decoded

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Middle East
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has drawn a line in the sand; either the US supports Ankara or the Kurdish people. Speaking to Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear, activist Elif Sarican and journalist Eric Draitser discuss the meaning behind Erdogan’s comments.

Kurdish fighters have proven to be one of the most effective forces fighting terrorist groups in Syria, yet the Turkish government continues to refer to groups like the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) as terrorists. While Russia has worked steadily to include Kurdish groups in Syrian peace talks, Ankara has refused, and has now called on Washington to choose sides.

"What [Erdogan is] really saying is the United States must take a side both in a new civil war inside of Turkey and in the broader regional context, and ultimately that’s what this is really about. Erdogan has drawn his line separating himself from Russia and he’s demanding that the United States side with him," journalist and analyst Eric Draitser tells Loud & Clear host Brian Becker.

"Unfortunately for Erdogan, he’s painted himself into a corner. He has very few options left for him, and that’s why you see such dangerous and bold rhetoric."

Germany appears to have already chosen its side. On Monday, Chancellor Angela Merkel criticized Russian airstrikes, but failed to address Turkey’s military operations against the Kurds.

"It’s a power game," Elif Sarican of the Kurdish Student Union says. "Russia has been a lot more effective in a very short period of time than the US has been effective in the last few years.

"If Turkey loses power on the border, then therefore, directly…Germany, NATO, and the US, all of these power hoarders lose their influence that they so desperately want to have in Syria."

The United States, on the other hand, is struggling to figure out its ultimate goals in Syria.

"What is the ultimate US strategy in Syria if they’re not able to achieve regime change, which is ultimately what the United States wanted from the very beginning? They wanted to get rid of the Assad government and put in its place a compliant and more pro-Western government…" Draitser says.

"That project has failed."

As Western powers attempt to salvage their reputation in the region, the Kurdish people are struggling to have their voice heard.

"Kurds in the region still do want a united Syria," Sarican says. "They want autonomy in the sense that they want to live the way they’re living right now…They want to be able to govern themselves, but this doesn’t mean completely independent from the state.

"If there is any chance of a solution it will be with the influence of Russia, because completely changing the regime and getting rid of Assad is going to do what it did in places like Libya and Egypt. It’s not going to help the people of the country…"

Long term stability, however, may not be in Turkey’s best interest.

"Turkey has lost its access to a lot of its proxies inside of Syria because of what Russia has done," Draitser says. "It wants to regain that access, and it’s using the crisis with the refugees and Aleppo in order to achieve just that."

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Turkish Kurds, Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), NATO, Elif Sarican, Eric Draitser, Bashar al-Assad, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Angela Merkel, Germany, United States, Russia, Syria, Turkey
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  • michaelin reply tovendor(Show commentHide comment)
    vendor, I wonder if that will change depending on the outcome in syria?
  • michaelin reply togoaismine(Show commentHide comment)
    goaismine, regardless of what we think about various leaders of countries, there will always be the awareness and planning for a future. Therefore the actions of the present or the near future are tied in with future designs etc. You cannot run a country in any other way. As an example, look at the article today on the upcoming ASEAN meeting and what america may be wanting to achieve there. It is looking to a future beyond the syrian conflict, as it does with many other regions. This is what governments do. Another example of erdogan being in south america recently to sign trade agreements I believe. The immediate war looms large on the horizon of our and their attention but it is not the be all and end all. :)
  • Anthony Ruz
    Turkish destroyed the Greek territory and the bunds reminds... Byzantium is the capital or Orthodox christianity and must be recovered again.

    That is not all... they practiced systematic genocide against christian Armenians and those NATO bastards use the Kurdish topic as "Smoke Curtain".

  • Jet fuel can't melt steel beamsin reply toSelectric Typeball(Show commentHide comment)
    Selectric Typeball, Technically the us are there via the so called muslim brotherhood under cia control (but i guess mini erdo wants to show he's a big guy.. he'll regret for sure either the us will back some opposition or the turks will demonstrate)
  • FlorianGeyer
    The US State Dept is wringing its hands. 'Vot to Do Shlomo, Vot to do?'
    If the US dumps the Kurds in favour of Turkey and DAESH and its moderate fellow travellers there could be a dangerous situation in that any arms given by Syria to the Kurds, as they have done today, could be interpreted as 'sponsoring terrorism' by the US/ NATO as the Kurds are struggling against violent repression in Turkey. In extremis this could be justified by NATO to invade Syria using the pretence of fighting terrorism.

    This is a bit far fetched I know, but NATO is not known for its honesty.
  • If Turkey joins the EU, it will be "a bridge too far" :)
  • Oops, didnt see conformation when adding comment.
    Next time i press once :)
  • tblizz
    Appears to me that Erdogan finally realizes that NATO will NOT back him so he is desperate to be certain the U.S. will. But the coalition of willing evil, being evil first and willing later, will not back an obvious loser among themselves. So much for agreements.
  • Anthony Ruz
    The liberation of Byzantium is still incomplete... Romanian Saxons are guilty because they collapsed the liberation war front against the Turkish army, those Romanian Saxons made counterintelligence for UK Saxons at Treaty of London.

  • Anthony Ruz
  • Anthony Ruz
    The Romanian Saxons infiltrated in the Bulgarian army created a kind of civil war among the Slavonic allies helping the Turkish to invade Bulgaria territory until now... this is the Time for the ultimate War, this is time for Holy Slavonic War against Ottoman Turkey.

  • in reply tovendor(Show commentHide comment)
    vendor, The don't belong there the have an Arab mentality the don't fit into Europe you can see at the many Turks living in Germany , the don't fit there as well
  • Blackiein reply toMother Gorilla(Show commentHide comment)
    Mother Gorilla,
    Close that Turk terror border now.
  • Ann
    I think he means "...and it’s TRYING TO USE the ALLEGED crisis with the refugees and Aleppo in order to achieve just that."
  • Ann in reply toarmor(Show commentHide comment)
    armor, Erdogan reminds me of an old meme: "Heaven don't want me, and Hell is afraid I'll take over"
  • ivanwa88
    michael you are so right and again I have posted comments in the past stating some Nations like US have a master plan sketched out and debated 50 years in advance! in fact I believe that's American's greatest weakness and shows there inherent lack of flexible thinking! moving to the now! when the printing presses run dry and they have bled there allies dry! and they have failed in conquering Russia and stealing there resources! what will they do!!?
  • Mother Gorillain reply toBlackie(Show commentHide comment)
    Blackie, yes, and gag Merkel, otherwise she will go for any male politician with pants on!
  • Ali Uzungün
    Perheps this is meaning:My Dear US President;
    I'm ready to act on your behalf, I'm waiting for rush order to enter Syria. You know I'm acting on your behalf and according to your orders. I have to cover it. And also I need to be a hero in the eyes of the Turkish people. All this is that I'm supposedly intimidating to you. By apologize, excuse me.. etc.
    /Your Liege M.
  • pbecke
    He seems to be saying : "... and my ice-cream wafers are this thick !"
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