Should Turkey decide that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party – seen now by Ankara as an additional arm of Assad’s forces – threatens its national security, it may decide to invade its neighbor.
Will the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) drag Turkey into a war in Syria? The Turkish media has emphasized the declaration by the PKK’s de facto leader Murat Karayilan that “If Turkey intervenes against our people in western Kurdistan, the area will turn into a battlezone.”
Western Kurdistan is the name the Kurds call eastern Syria, inhabited by more than two million Kurds. Turkey now blames Syria for using the PKK as an additional arm, allowing members of the organization to roam freely in its territory with weapons and permitting them to carry out terror acts in Turkish territory. Should Turkey decide that the operations of PKK members threaten its national security, it may decide to invade Syria under the justification of preventing terror, rather than aiding the rebels against Assad’s crackdown. Such a decision could become the turning point the Syrian rebels are hoping for – a foreign military intervention in their country.
Despite public denials, military preparations for intervention in the horrendous Syrian crisis are quietly afoot in Washington, Paris, Rome, London and Ankara. President Barack Obama is poised for a final decision after the Pentagon submits operational plans for protecting Syrian rebels and beleaguered populations from the brutal assaults of Bashar Assad’s army, debkafile’s Washington sources disclose.
This process is also underway in allied capitals which joined the US in the Libyan operation that ended Muammar Qaddafi’s rule in August, 2011. They are waiting for a White House decision before going forward.
Azerbaijan holds the main cards as gas producer country, with cash reserves to build a pipeline that Europe seems unable to finance, and coherent planning that eludes Europeans outside the European Commission. Thanks to Azerbaijan, moreover, Turkey can finally advance toward its goal of becoming a transit county for Caspian and Mideastern gas to Europe. Other transit projects, on which Turkey had based that hope, never came close to implementation via Turkey (Russian Blue Stream Two, Iranian gas, Nabucco, Arab Gas Pipeline from Syria) while gas projects in northern Iraq or offshore Cyprus look unrealistic for the foreseeable future. Thus far, it is mainly Azerbaijan that has enabled Turkey to become a transit country for oil (Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline) and is now poised to make Turkey into a major transit country for gas. Ankara could jeopardize that prospect, however, in case it reverts to its former ambitions to become a “hub” country, rather than a transit country.
Caspian gas politics and the investment decisions are clearly moving into a post-Nabucco era. Among the five rival solutions (TAGP, SEEP, Nabucco, ITGI, TAP), the Azerbaijan-led TAGP holds an unmatched combination of comparative advantages (see “Trans-Anatolia Gas Project and its rivals in Comparative Perspective,” EDM, February 2). Baku’s decision to proceed with TAGP in partnership with Turkey has cut the decade-old Gordian knot of Caspian pipeline projects.