NATO and the US government are complicit in Turkey’s aggression, said Dr Cihan Tugal, a professor of sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, in an open-end in New York Times last week.
Turkey’s western partners have remained largely silent on its attacks on Kurds in Syria and Iraq in the past, Tugal said.
“Western countries kept on providing ample support for campaigns against the Kurds in [the years following the 1980 coup in Turkey], even during the exceptionally violent clashes of 1993-95,” the scholar said. “As hostilities resumed in the 2010s, the West largely neglected internal waves of repression.”
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed Sweden and Finland, where many Kurds have sought asylum over the years, towards NATO, which in turn “handed Turkey a golden opportunity”, he said.
If the United States were to pressure the two countries to accept Turkey’s demands, as Secretary of State Antony Blinken has suggested might happen, it would be more than a policing victory, according to Tugal. “It would be seen with an international admission sealed by the world’s most powerful country that Kurdish rights can be waved aside.”
However, Turkey’s aggression has always been hand in hand with NATO acceptance, Tugal argued, and even complicity. “It’s no use for Western countries to be lecturing Turkey, or Turkey complaining of Western hypocrisy: They are in it together,” he said.
Tugal’s piece was one among several published by the New York Times in recent weeks that criticised the Democrat-led White House over its stance regarding NATO negotiations and silence in the face of Turkish aggression.