Analysis, Middle East

The West of the Euphrates is No Longer a “Red Line” for Turkey

Erdogan made the following statements regarding reports of the YPG’s, PKK’s Syrian arm, advancing west of the Euphrates River:

“I didn’t get any information from my colleagues regarding the YPG’s advance to the west of the Euphrates. And we said, ‘if this is the case then we will do what is necessary.’ Jerablus was one of our targets there in order to clear the region of Daesh. The Azez issue is a risk for us. Watching the YPG come to that place is unacceptable. This would lead to the formation of a Kurdish strip at the whole of our south and Syria’s north. It is impossible to say ‘yes’ to this. Also there is the Tishreen dam. Regarding the dam, also the USA said that they made a step in order to protect it especially against DAESH. But I don’t know, if they mean they are using the YPG as ground forces. But we said the following to them. So, we can easily make the same cooperation that we already have in Mare, Karjala line.”


On his way back from his Saudi Arabia visit, President Erdogan answered the questions of journalists and said regarding the advancement of the YPG to the west of the Euphrates River in Syria, that ‘if this is the case it will be done what is necessary.’ Ankara previously declared the “west of the Euphrates” as a “red line”. However, even “the Deaf Sultan” (Turkish idiom) has heard that “Syrian Democratic Forces” had reached the west of the Euphrates. In spite of this, it is obvious that Erdogan seeks to obfuscate the developments with his statement. Additionally he unfolds that there are no “red lines” left anymore.

And Prime Minister Davutoğlu – as if saying “it is the intelligence fault” – stated, “government’s current information shows that the groups that crossed the Euphrates over the weekend were Arabs, not PYD forces.”

Whereas, as many officials stated, the substantial part of “Syrian Democratic Forces” consist of the YPG, the military wing of the PYD, including the PKK.

Fact however is, that Turkey, despite having a 900 km long border, the participation of the Crusader coalition forces and despite opening its bases, is unable to do anything it wants in Syria. Furthermore, since the “air plane crisis” it is not even undertaking any air operations, let alone intervening from land. Although Turkmens in Syria are under Turkey’s protection according to the Ankara Agreement, these areas are under Russia’s daily bombardment. However, not only that Turkey is unable to prevent these attacks against Turkmens, it is even unable to send “humanitarian aid”.

Another issue is Erdogan’s criticism of America wanting to use the YPG as ground forces regarding the “Tishreen Dam”, while giving the message of willingness to further cooperation with America, like in Mare and Karjala.

Of course the YPG forces had taken hold of the Tishreen dam long since, when Erdogan made this statement. The forces that approached the west of the Euphrates are the PYD’s military wing, the YPG, supported by America from air.

So Erdogan continues to obfuscate the events and to deceive.

Just as America’s so-called “red line” (use of chemical weapons by the regime) had been sacrificed to America’s interests due to a lack of alternative [to Bashar], Turkey’s red line is also being sacrificed to America’s interests, under the pretext of fighting “ISIL”.

In fact, “the one who took the horse is already beyond Üsküdar” (Turkish proverb expressing that it is already too late to do something).

As a result, not only that Turkey could not realise any of its projects according to its national interests, now, after the “air plane crisis”, it has become completely isolated from Iraq and Syria.