Turkey is now threatening US troops in Syria if we continue to fight along side of Kurds according to a top Turkish presidential aide. Turkey is at war with Kurds in their own country and believe Syrian and Iraqi Kurds aid them. Turkey is a key ally in fighting ISIS in Syria. We use one of their airbases to launch aerial attacks and if they cut us off, we would need to run much longer missions costing us a large sum of money in jet fuel.
Ilnur Cevik’s comments follow Turkish airstrikes on American-backed Kurdish fighters inside Syria on April 25. The strikes drew condemnation from the U.S. who said Turkey gave approximately 20 minutes notice and struck an area only six miles away from U.S. special operators.
“It was an unsafe way to conduct operations,” Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. John Dorrian told reporters the day of the strikes.
The U.S. responded by moving armored vehicles to the Turkish-Syrian border in a move to deter further strikes. Cevik responded to the show of force, telling Turkish radio “we won’t be considering the fact that there are armored American vehicles … All of a sudden, by accident, a few rockets can hit them.”
Cevik’s comments are particularly extraordinary given Turkey’s NATO membership and the key role the country plays in the American anti-ISIS mission. Any potential conflict between the two countries is fraught with macro-level consequences.
This will put the United States between a rock and a hard place because Kurdish fighters are the most effective force against ISIS. We very much want to keep both as strong allies and if it came down as a choice between one or the other, the choice would be a difficult one to make.