Back Quotes Amb. Eric Edelman and Alan Makovsky during JINSA Conference Call on U.S. Withdrawal from Northern Syria

Two Middle East analysts questioned Erdogan’s motives and the ability of the Turkish military to carry out the plan.

“There’s a lot of reticence to test the proposition that the Turkish military is capable of carrying this out,” said Eric Edelman, former ambassador to Turkey and undersecretary for Policy at the Defense Department.

He pointed to the U.S. move to limit Turkish air cover and also cited the 2016 coup attempt in which rogue elements of Turkey’s military bombed parliament.

In a conference call with reporters sponsored by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA), Edelman said the subsequent purge of the officer ranks left the Turkish military demoralized and short of pilots. “It’s a very damaged institution,” Edelman said of the Turkish military.

In the same conference call, Alan Makovsky, a senior fellow for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress, said Erdogan’s claims of protecting Turkey from cross-border attacks by the SDF were spurious.

“The YPG has not attacked Turkey across the border,” Makovsky said, referring to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units that make up the main fighting force of the SDF.

Erdogan’s real purpose is to force many of the estimated 3.6 million refugees from Syria’s civil war now living in Turkey to move to the safe zone in northeastern Syria that his military would create, Makovsky said.

“He’d like to get rid of those refugees,” Makovsky said.

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