October 13, 2019

Opinion | Is Trump Betraying the Kurds?

Opinion | Is Trump Betraying the Kurds?

Howard Schmitt
Green Tree, Pa.

To the Editor:

You report that President Trump may allow Turkey to invade Syrian Kurdistan, an autonomous democracy with more rights for women than any state in the Middle East save Israel. Beyond Israel, the Kurds have been our only true regional ally for decades, and now we are abandoning them — for the third time.

The United States betrayed the Kurds after the first gulf war when we kowtowed to Saddam Hussein and permitted him to crush a Kurdish uprising, leading to the slaughter of thousands of civilians. And Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger betrayed them after pledging autonomy in exchange for supporting Israel and Iran against Soviet-backed Iraqis — only to sell them out in 1975 after the shah cut a deal with Iraq.

Yet to this day the Kurds have fought with us for American interests. After this day, they may never fight with us again. Given bipartisan criticism since the decision, Mr. Trump appears to be backtracking. This is a positive development.

The Kurds are a secular, democratic force in a region where both are scarce qualities. They were with us in the invasion of Iraq. They have been with us against ISIS. Why aren’t we with them?

Nathaniel Brooks Horwitz

To the Editor:

ReTurkey’s Plan to Move Refugees to Syria Is Dangerous,” by Ryan Gingeras and Nick Danforth (Op-Ed, nytimes.com, Oct. 7):

What is so unashamedly ignored in the reaction to Turkey’s plans is the complete lack of assistance by the West to resettle the Syrian refugees. This is the root of the problem. President Trump’s anti-immigrant and anti-refugee policies have closed the door to the United States, and Europe’s fears of a Muslim invasion reaching back to the days of the Ottoman Empire remain, even if glossed over with more politically correct rationalizations.

Most people in the region believe, perhaps rightly, that if this were a problem of white, Christian refugees, the response would be very different. The longer we ignore the problem of resettlement and leave Turkey to carry the weight of millions of refugees alone, the more Turkey will act out and pockets of radicalization in the region will grow.

Resistance to Turkey’s plans without offering alternatives is not a solution.

Kerime Akoglu
New York

To the Editor:

In light of President Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria, which followed a phone call from Turkey’s president, the path forward for now imperiled Kurdish forces in Syria is clear: Call Mr. Trump. He always does what the last guy on the phone wanted.

Lawrence Reichard
Orland, Me.

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