Re “Invitation to an arms race” (Ideas, June 9): While Stephen Kinzer is right about Turkey’s unique strategic value, and that the United States should seek a compromise, the rationale that led to this conclusion is fraught with misguided statements.
Turkey is a pluralistic and vibrant democracy — and one that is fighting more than one terrorist organization simultaneously. In order to preserve its democracy and security, Turkey has to take decisive action. Kinzer asserts that Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 system from Russia is “payback” for American support of the Kurdish militias in Syria. The truth is that the Democratic Union Party, or PYD, and associated People’s Protection Units, or YPG, groups with whom the United States cooperates in Syria, are part of the “family” of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a US-designated terrorist organization. This is more than troubling. However, this does not explain the driving force behind the S-400 decision, and neither do the other hypothetical assessments in Kinzer’s view of Turkey’s national security.
In fact, as the only NATO ally with boots on the front lines of the Syrian conflict, Turkey has been the most effective actor in ensuring the alliance’s security from terrorism — from its efforts to introduce a political process to lead to peace and stability in Syria, to housing almost 4 million displaced Syrian refugees.
Turkey is a pillar of stability and a US partner. Partners do not give up on each other; they work out their issues, no matter how difficult the circumstances. That is what Turkey will continue to do.
Ceylan Özen Erisen
Consul general of Turkey in Boston