There is plenty the West, Russia--and, yes, Iran--can do to help the situation. In the short-term they must force a ceasefire and mediate a peace process with the Kurds in Turkey, such as the settlement put forward in 2013, but which quickly unraveled. Turkey must also be pushed to lift its embargo on Rojava, where Kurdish towns and cities require urgent humanitarian assistance. Lifting this embargo will alleviate the humanitarian crisis and, therefore, the refugee flow into Europe. If they don't, warns NATO analyst Ranj Alaadin , this "requires threatening Turkey with expulsion from NATO."
Alaadin lists lots of Erdogan's anti-NATO sins in his recent Independent broadside: Erdogan's refusal to toe the NATO line on Afghanistan, Iraq, Russia, Ukraine, Kosovo, Iran, Israel ... But Erdogan makes constant about-faces, now supporting NATO in Afghanistan and Iraq, jumping on the Libyan and Syrian bandwagons, shooting down Russian planes, and cooling relations with Iran. It's hard to see a clear policy at work anymore. The Kurds may have few friends, but with his erratic flip-flops, neither does Erdogan.
There are glimmers of sanity showing through:
*Turkey wants a unified Iraq, so it is supporting the rickety coalition of Shia, Sunni and Kurds trying to hold Iraq together.
*Relations with Israel have improved, short of official recognition.
*No more Turkish bombers in Syria, keeping clear of the Russians, after a profuse apology.
But the travail of the Kurds continues, something which both
NATO and Russia have no interest in promoting. The Kurds have proved to be the
surprise winners in the debacle in Syria against ISIS, which NATO and Turkey
instigated, and they deserve credit, including--from Erdogan too.
[For an earlier version of this article it can be seen at American Herald Tribune.]
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