Turkey and The West in Syria

Turkey’s relationship with Syria had been bitterly hostile up to the late 1990s, in significant part owing to the Syrian regime of Hafez al-Assad sheltering Abdullah Ocalan and his Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Assad was instrumental in creating in collusion with the Soviet Union.8 The PKK launched a separatist insurgency inside Turkey in 1984, acting effectively as a proxy for the U.S.S.R. against a frontline NATO state. After the Soviet Empire collapsed, the PKK was drawn closer to Damascus.

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