Commentaries #23

The Implications of Turkish Interventions in Rojava for US and EU Foreign Policies
by Dr. Veysi Dağ, Hebrew University of Jerusalem and SOAS

Executive summary: 

This essay focuses on the anti-intellectualism in Turkey in relation to the oppression, persecution, and discrediting of critical academics. It shows how this anti-intellectualism affects the reproduction and re-legitimation of war policies in regards to the Turkish-Kurdish conflict. To this end, first it presents excerpts from in-depth interviews with academics who were dismissed from universities by presidential decrees for This paper examines how Turkish invasions into Northern Syria’s Kurdish enclave undermine US and European policy objectives. It argues that the Turkish state, obsessed with Kurdish hostility, endangers American and European foreign policies by further destabilising war-torn Syria, facilitating the empowerment of Islamist extremist groups, impeding a peaceful resolution to Syria’s protracted conflict, and assisting Russia’s anti-Western interests. The paper suggests that the US and Europe could rather deploy a dual strategy aimed at exerting pressure on Turkey to discontinue its disruptive and belligerent actions. To cease targeting anti-ISIS Kurdish forces, Turkey must either resume the Kurdish-Turkish peace process or risk being designated as a rival state, analogous to Russia, and subjected to punitive sanctions.

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