Panel Series - Turkey's Invasion of Afrin: A Litmus Test for New Alliances
Time & Location
About The Event
8:45 am Registration
9:00 AM – 10:10 AM
Panel 1. Kurdish-American Relations: A Tactical Partnership or a Strategic Alliance?
Turkey recently launched a military offensive and attempted invasion of the Kurdish city of Afrin in northern Syria, home to almost half a million Kurds and hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Syrian Arabs, in a bid to eliminate the People’s Protection Units (YPG), US-backed predominantly Kurdish forces. Is Turkey’s recent invasion a litmus test for current state of the US-Kurdish alliance? Does the US have a coherent policy with respect to Kurds of Syria? Will it abandon the Syrian Kurds or continue to stand by them? Does the US inaction contribute to Turkey’s aggression? Does the US have to make a choice between Turkey and the Syrian Kurds, or is there a third way?
Our panelists will address this pivotal new phase in relations between the emerging regional players and global powers from a variety of perspectives and make policy recommendations concerning the future of Syria and the region in the wake of the battle against terrorist groups entering a new stage and the formation of new alliances.
- Ms. Sinem Mohamed, Democratic Federation of Northern Syria Representative to the US
- Dr. David Pollock, Kaufman Fellow, The Washington Institute
- Mr. Bassam Ishak, President, The Syriac National Council in Syria
Mr. Christian Sinclair, Director of International Studies, Moravian College
10:40 AM – 11:50 AM
Panel 2. Where is Turkey Going? The Geopolitics of the Turkish-Russian-Iranian Alliance
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, initially among the most vocal and active proponents of efforts to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has pursued a policy of close cooperation with Assad’s key strategic allies, Russia and Iran, to allow Turkey to intensify its military and political efforts against the Kurds of Syria, who have served as vital allies to the US, and roll back Kurds’ gains in Syria. Turkey’s recent military campaign against the Kurdish city of Afrin in Syria represents another milestone in the ongoing deterioration of US-Turkish relations and, perhaps, the beginning of a period of new alliances between global and regional powers in the Middle East.
Our panelists will discuss the underlying causes of Turkey’s aggression against the Kurds of Syria and its consequences in local, regional and global contexts.
- Mr. Giran Ozcan, The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Representative to the US
- Dr. Amy Austin Holmes, Fellow, The Wilson Center
- Ms. Merve Tahiroglu, Research Associate, Foundation for Defense of Democracies
Mr. Aram Hamparian, Executive Director, The Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA)