America’s Fling With the Kurds Could Cause Turkey and NATO to Split

America’s Fling With the Kurds Could Cause Turkey and NATO to Split, by Mark Perry.

“The U.S.-YPG alliance has poisoned U.S.-Turkish relations,” a senior Turkish official told TAC last week, “and you can’t just pass it off. All right, so you needed the YPG [the Kurdish People’s Defense Units] to defeat ISIS, fine. Mission accomplished. So now, get the YPG out of Manbij. Good God, you’re digging trenches for these people.” …

How badly “poisoned” is the U.S.-Turkey relationship? In fact, Centcom’s dependence on the YPG to carry the fight to ISIS (which includes 2,000 U.S. soldiers deployed in Syria) has so roiled Turkey that a host of influential military officers and their civilian counterparts in NATO have recently warned Secretary of Defense James Mattis that America’s support for the YPG is endangering their alliance’s unity. …

Critics are alarmed by Ankara’s turn toward Russia and “who lost Turkey” talk is in the air. …

Just as crucially, … Turkey has been sidling up to Russia, agreeing to purchase two S-400 surface-to-air missile batteries from Russia for $2.5 billion. The purchase went forward despite U.S. protests that the batteries were not interoperable with NATO systems, a signal from the Turkish government that the U.S. is not the only arms game in town. “No one benefits more from the U.S.-Turkey rift than Russia,” a NATO partisan and Scaparrotti colleague says. “I think Scap has made it clear: the U.S.-Turkey disagreement could well be the greatest political threat to the alliance since France withdrew from the military chain-of-command, back in the ‘60s.”

hat-tip Stephen Neil