ART OF THE DEAL: Just 24 Hrs After Erdogan Said Turkey Would ‘NEVER Declare A Ceasefire’ — U.S. Negotiates One

Written by K. Walker on October 17, 2019

Vice President Mike Pence just announced that the United States has negotiated a ceasefire with Turkey.

The Trump administration has been lambasted by, well, everyone for the handling of the situation in Syria. They have been criticized by both the right and the left for abandoning the Kurdish allies in northern Syria.

Cards on the table: I’m not a fan of President Trump’s policy to withdraw troops from Syria, either. Though I’m also not keen on having U.S. troops in Syria indefinitely. But I’m also not the President of the United States and I don’t get to make those calls. (Thank God!) Yesterday, Trump was on the receiving end of a bipartisan smackdown in the House of Representatives when a motion to condemn the withdrawal of troops from northeast Syria was adopted 354 to 60.

The strategy of withdrawal is debatable, but let’s be fair, the situation between the Kurds and Turkey is quite complicated. That Trump wanted to get American troops out of the region with a historic conflict isn’t a surprise, especially since the continued presence of U.S. troops after the defeat of ISIS was only to protect the Kurds.

The other wrinkle would be if the United States got involved in the conflict. Either decision would put the United States between a rock and a hard place — it would mean turning on Kurdish allies that helped defeat ISIS and allying with a rather problematic Turkish regime or turning against Turkey, a NATO ally, and attacking a religious and ethnic minority in Syria.

The Daily Mail ran a long-winded, defeatist headline trumpeting how futile the meeting between Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Turkish President Recep Erdogan was going to be.

The hopeless headline isn’t much of a surprise. Yesterday, CNN reported that Erdogan said that a ceasefire was not something that he would even consider.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dismissed US calls for a ceasefire in northern Syria and said that he’s not worried about American-imposed sanctions, or the advancement of Russian-backed Syrian forces toward the Turkish border.

Speaking to journalists traveling on his presidential plane following a visit to Azerbaijan Tuesday, Erdogan said a ceasefire was off the table. “Declare a ceasefire, they say. We will never declare a ceasefire,” Erdogan said. “We do not sit at the table with terrorist organizations.”
Source: CNN

Vice President Pence announced that there would be a 120-hour ceasefire to allow the Kurds to retreat. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) — ie. the Kurds in Syria will be pull troops from the border and dismantle their defensive fortifications near the Turkish border.

“Today the United States and Turkey have agreed to a ceasefire in Syria,” Pence told a news conference after more than four hours of talks at the presidential palace in Ankara.

Pence had flown to Turkey to call for a halt in Turkey’s cross-border military operation, called Operation Peace Spring, under which Turkey has aimed to clear YPG Syrian Kurdish fighters from a 20 mile (32 km) deep “safe zone” along the border.

Source: Reuters

Pence said that the Turks will “pause” Operation Peace Spring to allow YPG forces to withdraw from the safe zone for five days, and once a complete withdrawal has been done, the military operation will be halted entirely.

The U.S. did not support Turkey’s military’s action against the Kurds and imposed sanctions because of it.

The Vice President gave credit to President Trump and to President Erdogan and the “strong relationship” between the United States and Turkey.

President Trump responded to the news on Twitter:

Later, he said, “It’s really a great day for civilization.”

ClashDaily's Associate Editor since August 2016. Self-described political junkie, anti-Third Wave Feminist, and a nightmare to the 'intersectional' crowd. Mrs. Walker has taken a stand against 'white privilege' education in public schools. She's also an amateur Playwright, former Drama teacher, and staunch defender of the Oxford comma. Follow her humble musings on Twitter: @TheMrsKnowItAll