As expected, Donald Trump continued the Obama policy of supporting the Kurds of Syria, a policy which continues to threaten the US-Turkish relations. Actually Trump supplied the Kurds with heavier arms than the Obama administration.
The new Sultan of Turkey, Tayip Erdogan, complained to the Russians, but the Russians said they will no longer supply the Kurds of Syria with arms, and that’s all they can do. According to the Russians, as far as the American armaments are concerned, the Turks should contact their American allies.
Both the American and Russian responses are very normal, because the Americans and the Russians can use the Kurds to establish a balance of power in the Middle East, if they reach an agreement. The Kurds can be very useful to both the Americans and the Russians.
To the Russians because if Turkey and the Arabs, with NATO’s support, decide to push for the energy corridor of the Muslim Brotherhood i.e. Persian Gulf-Turkey-Europe, undermining the Russian economic interests in Europe, the Russians will use the allies they have in the Syrian Kurdistan to cause chaos. The Russians can also use the Kurds of the Turkish Kurdistan (PKK) to cause chaos in Turkey, if the Turks, together with the Kazakhs, the Turkmen and the Azerbaijanis, try to create a Muslim energy axis i.e. Caspian Sea-Turkey-Europe, which undermines the Russian interests in Europe too.
Map Russia and the Kurds
On the other hand, if Turkey reaches an agreement with Russia and China, and tries to block the United States from the Middle East, the Americans will be have the choice to use their Kurdish allies and go to war, in order to create a Kurdish corridor that will connect the Caspian Sea, the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean Sea, avoiding the Sunni parts of Syria and Iraq.
Map The Americans and the Kurds
Therefore the Kurds can be a balancing force for the Americans and the Russians, if they reach an agreement, because both the Russians and the Americans will know they will be able to use the Kurds if the other party crosses them. See “The Obama and the Trump Doctrine”.
In other words, the presence of the Kurds can reassure both the Americans and the Russians, that the Turks will not cross them, since both the Americans and the Russians have Kurdish allies. Obviously that is not good for Sultan Erdogan and Turkey, who want both the Americans and the Russians to beg them for cooperation, playing the Americans against the Russians. But Turkey is a smaller player than Russia and the United States, and if the two countries reach an agreement Turkey will have to respect it if it wants to prosper and avoid war.
The only other thing Sultan Erdogan can do is to join an axis with China, Pakistan and Iran. Turkey has already joined this axis but only commercially and not militarily.
But at this point I doubt that if Russia and the United States reach an agreement in the Middle East, the Chinese will have an appetite to break it. That depends of course on the whole agenda of the American-Chinese relations i.e. who controls Iraq, what happens with the Chinese militarization of the South China Sea, and what happens with the US trade deficits with China. But Trump is trying to reach an agreement with the Chinese too, and not only with the Russians i.e. “The Art of the Deal”. The Americans are very lucky to have such a great leader during such difficult times.
However not all is black for Turkey. If the Americans and the Russians reach an agreement in the Middle East, they might not promote an independent Kurdish State. The Americans want an independent Kurdish state in Syria and Iraq, and the Russians want an independent Kurdish state in Turkey.
The Turks, the Syrians, the Iraqis and the Iranians do not want an independent Kurdish state, even though they have all been using the Kurds against their opponents. Therefore if the Americans and the Russians reach an agreement they might not push for and independent Kurdistan. Or they might create an independent Kurdistan in Iraq for example, because Turkey has allies in Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkey is the natural importer of the oil and gas of Iraqi Kurdistan. The Kurds of Syria, Iran and Turkey on the other hand, contrary to what happens with the Kurds of Iraq, are very poor in oil and gas.
Map Oil (black) and Natural Gas (red) Reserves
The Kurdish people are in exactly the same position that the Jewish people were before WW1, when the British, the French, the Germans and the Russians were fighting for the oil pipelines of Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea. In the end the British and the French won, and a Jewish state was created after WW2, but only after Palestine was soaked with Jewish blood. The same can happen for the Kurdish people. A similar great war can break out for the natural gas pipelines of Qatar-Turkey, Iran-Turkey, Turkmenistan-Turkey, and this war can lead to the creation of a Kurdish state, but only after Kurdistan is soaked with Kurdish blood, exactly as Palestine was soaked with Jewish blood.
Remember that before WW2 Jewish people were as divided as the Kurdish people are today. There were Jews who were with the British (Haganah), and there were Jewish terrorist organizations that were supported by Britain’s enemies i.e. Russia, even Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy, and they were carrying terrorist attacks against Great Britain. In 1917 Britain had promised to create a Jewish state in Palestine (Israel+Jordan) in case of victory in WW1.
Similarly, the Kurdish people are equally divided today, and some of them are Russia’s allies, some are America’s allies etc. Syria, with Russia’s blessings, was supporting the Kurds of Turkey against Turkey, and the Americans were supporting the Kurds of Iraq against Saddam Hussein in Iraq. The Kurds are divided even within each country. For example there was a Kurdish civil war in Iraq in the 90s.