Turkish Tough Talk

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan was overjoyed about Donald Trump's decision to remove US troops from Syria. Until now, the main thing preventing Erdogan from crushing Syrian Kurds just across the border was the protection of US forces who've been fighting alongside them.


So it's little surprise then that US National Security Advisor John Bolton, who just days earlier committed to slow-roll the president's withdrawal plan, was greeted less than warmly upon arriving in Turkey yesterday. Erdogan calledBolton's precondition that America's Kurdish allies in Syria be protected "unacceptable" and was so put off that he refused to meet with him altogether.

What's got the Turkish president so riled? Erdogan has long viewed Kurdish militias operating in northern Syria as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), a violent Kurdish nationalist group within Turkey which Ankara considers a terrorist organization. As it happens, the EU and US agree on that.

But there's a big split between Washington and Ankara over the Kurdish militia across the border in northern Syria, known as the People's Protection Unites (or YPG). Turkey considers them an offshoot of the PKK that ought to be destroyed before it can set up a truly autonomous Kurdish region in Northern Syria.

The US, meanwhile, views the YPG as a valuable ally in the fight against ISIS and does not consider it a terrorist organization, which infuriates Turkey.

With the US withdrawal, Erdogan saw an opportunity to send Turkish troops and tanks into northern Syria, crush the Kurds, and declare "Mission Accomplished" all before crucial local Turkish elections in March. Sinking in the polls and with Turkey's economy in tatters, he could certainly use the political boost. But with the Trump administration suddenly attaching conditions to any US withdrawal from Turkey, that golden opportunity is fading.

Yesterday Erdogan reiterated his intention to move forward with an incursion, but doing so would risk significant political, and possibly even military, blowback from the US, to say nothing of a potential clash between US and Turkish troops.

The bottom line: The domestic consequences of Trump's hasty decision to bring home US troops from Syria were apparent almost immediately when Defense Secretary Mattis resigned over the issue. But now we are starting to see the thornier regional and US foreign policy implications as well.

How much material do we use to send a package? Too much. Does recycling help? Yes – but not really. Packaging material often accumulates as waste, contributing to its own "polluting weight." To solve our packaging dilemma, Finland came up with RePack: a "circular" solution for the reuse of material.

Learn more about RePack in Eni's new Energy Superfacts series.

A steady increase of violence in the Sahel region of Africa over the past eight years has imposed fear and hardship on millions of the people who live there. It has also pushed the governments of Sahel countries to work together to fight terrorists.

The region's troubles have also captured the attention of European leaders, who worry that if instability there continues, it could generate a movement of migrants that might well dwarf the EU refugee crisis of 2015-2016.

But is Europe helping to make things better?

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Former CDC director – and current CEO of the public health initiative Resolve to Save Lives – Dr. Tom Frieden joins Ian Bremmer on GZERO World to talk about how to get the Covid-19 pandemic under control in the United States (hint: we need more data). As with politics, Dr. Frieden argues, all epidemics are local. And the outbreaks crippling much of the South and Southwest need local responses. But the main failing lies at the federal level. Things won't improve (and schools won't effectively reopen) Dr. Frieden warns, until Washington alters course. That is, of course, until an effective vaccine becomes readily accessible to all Americans. Though even that will likely not be the silver bullet we all want it to be.

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On the latest episode of the GZERO World podcast, former CDC director – and current CEO of the public health initiative Resolve to Save Lives – Dr. Tom Frieden joins Ian Bremmer to talk about how to get the Covid-19 pandemic under control in the United States (hint: we need more data). As with politics, Dr. Frieden argues, all epidemics are local. And the outbreaks crippling much of the South and Southwest need local responses. But the main failing lies at the federal level. Things won't improve (and schools won't effectively reopen) Dr. Frieden warns, until Washington alters course. That is, of course, until an effective vaccine becomes readily accessible to all Americans. Though even that will likely not be the silver bullet we all want it to be.

Donald J. Trump and CorOnaVirus decide to hit the road together across the USA. Will DJT and COV discover they are more alike than different? Will their interests diverge? #PUPPETREGIME