The direct clash between the US military and Turkish military has increased exponentially since the Turkish incursion into Syria. The fight against the Kurdish fighter backed by the American military in the northwest part of Syria by the Turkish military has a significant destabilizing effect. If President Tayyip Erdogan keeps his promise of pressing further east is set to pose a real threat of the collision of these two allies in NATO. President Erdogan has repeatedly said that his military would proceed farther east to the Manbij city which is controlled by both the US troops and the Kurdish fighters. Before things get worse, the American Middle East policymakers need to come up with a tou8gh stance against Turkey in the region that would neutralize the threat.
President Erdogan said that he would be forced to bury the American troops who are defending Manbij together with the Kurdish fighters whom turkey view as enemy number one. The Turkish president said that he would ignore calls from Washington and head all the way to Manbij which could be a move that would damage the special alliance between Istanbul and Washington that has lasted for a long time. The conflict between these two allies has been escalated by Erdogan’s conflict of interest with Donald Trump regarding Syria and their special flirtation with Moscow. Any hope of a functional US-Turkey relationship is only possible if Washington makes a crystal clear statement that the advances and threats issued by the Turkish president will not be tolerated.
Moreover, such a stringent warning should be followed by a deterrent posture adopted by American policymakers in the region. However, a host of mixed messages from the US to turkey together with a tendency by Washington to treat Istanbul gingerly has given an assurance that the American interest in Syria which includes a lease for airbases is of so much importance to the US that it should not fail at any cost. This will only serve to increase Erdogan’s appetitive for aggression which would ultimately drag the Trump administration into a direct armed conflict with Turkey.
President Erdogan must be briefed on the dire consequences of trying a hostile takeover of Manbij and President Trump and his administration are supposed to be willing to follow it to the end. Although it is utterly reckless, the special relationship between Turkey and the US which has lasted since 1950 would come to a screeching halt if president Erdogan executes his threat of attacking Manbij.