Nonresident Senior Fellow Howard Eissenstat Quoted in the Globe Post

In a February 2, 2018 article for the Globe Post, nonresident senior fellow Howard Eissenstat talked with Abdullah Ayasun about how the Afrin offensive would shape Turkey’s domestic `politics.

“In general, I think, the Afrin Operation works well for Erdogan politically. It presents him as tough on addressing terrorism and it allows him to stand up against the Americans,” Howard Eissenstat, a nonresident senior fellow at Washington-based POMED, told The Globe Post Turkey.

“Both of these not only help him on the nationalist right; they are genuinely popular across much of the political spectrum.”

Mr. Eissenstat highlighted the security dimension as one of the driving forces behind the Turkish military endeavor. For him, it is a mistake to see “the Afrin policy as merely a political ploy for domestic consumption.”

“I don’t think there is any question that Erdogan – and most Turks – view the consolidation of the YPG as a clear strategic threat,” he said, elaborating on the long-running Turkish concerns over an emerging statelet run by the PKK-linked militia. And “the Pentagon’s statements about a border force,” he underscored, “crystalized these concerns.”

In that regard, the Afrin operation was driven by a confluence of different dynamics: President Erdogan’s intention of redesigning of political realm to his liking ahead of an election year and a non-political, purely geopolitical motivation emanates from Turkey’s decades-old strategic calculations and alignments over its national security in its near vicinity.

“Quite apart from the popularity of the Afrin operation, Erdogan’s actions also reflect longstanding assumptions about Turkey’s security situation and the American alliance with the YPG,” Mr. Eissenstat said.

Read the full article here.