Despite the decree issued by US President Joe Biden on 7 October 2021, the US government did not react to Turkey’s attacks targeting civilians in Rojava. This attitude probably helped increase the frequency and severity of Ankara’s attacks, journalist Ergun Babahan wrote in an article for news website Artı Gerçek.
“The situation in and in relation to Syria, and in particular the actions by the Government of Turkey to conduct a military offensive into northeast Syria, undermines the campaign to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, endangers civilians, and further threatens to undermine the peace, security, and stability in the region, and continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States,” Biden said in the decree, which was first issued by his predecessor Donald Trump in 2019.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan may be thinking that Biden cannot take action against Ankara’s manoeuvres in Syria in the midst of the Ukrainian conflict, Babahan said, or “even be prepared to burn bridges with NATO”.
“Erdoğan tests Biden in two ways: First, by treating the decree he signed like garbage, devaluing the American president’s commitment to Syria and Rojava and clearly repeating a message that the US administration is unreliable post-Afghanistan,” the journalist said.
“Secondly, the democracy and human rights front. As if the pressure Erdoğan exerted on the peoples of Turkey was not enough, he will this time trample all the values Biden claims to be defending with an attack that will endanger the Kurdish, Arab, Assyrian and Armenian peoples living in relative peace in Rojava.”
“Constantly appeasing Erdoğan puts the West in this conundrum: Watching idly by as a new humanitarian crisis brews in Syria, watching ISIS being reborn, and turning a blind eye to Erdoğan transferring refugees to Europe via Greece,” Babahan continued. “But this may not be that easy to do considering the sympathy towards Kurds and fury against Erdoğan in the American public.”
Preventing a backlash that would be costly for Turkey requires a level-headed opposition to explain to the public that this is “Erdoğan’s personal fight for prosperity”, he concluded. “Or this will not end well.”