Jessica Varnum Talks Turkey on the Peter Tilden Show

October 31, 2019 • updated November 25, 2019

Jessica Varnum

Jessica Varnum

In a comprehensive discussion with host Peter Tilden, CNS Deputy Director Jessica Varnum spoke on KABC Radio in Culver City, California, on the abrupt US withdrawal from Syria and Turkey’s subsequent military incursion.

Drawing on her deep expertise on Turkey and the region, Varnum said that Trump’s decision to order a precipitous withdrawal of US troops, abandoning America’s Kurdish allies, “is nothing but catastrophic for American credibility and foreign policy.” Furthermore, she noted that Trump failed in his stated objective of removing US troops from Syria. Prior to the withdrawal order, approximately 1,000 US troops were deployed in Syria. Shortly after the withdrawal order, Trump ordered somewhere between 800 and 1,000 troops back into Syria to protect the oil fields.

Listen to the October Interview
Listen to the November Interview

Varnum also reiterated the point she made in a recent New York Times article that Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent statement about nuclear weapons should not be interpreted as Turkey’s interest in pursuing nuclear weapons. Instead, Erdogan’s statement was about the unfairness of only five states being legally allowed, under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, to have nuclear weapons. Varnum also commented on Turkey’s recent procurement of Russia’s S400 missile defense system: “We are getting to a point of no return with the relationship,” she cautioned, advising that “what we need to be doing is to implement secondary sanctions on Turkey,” specifically only for purchases of Russian defense equipment, as a way “to deter them from going further down that road.”

Varnum appeared again on the Peter Tilden Show on Monday, November 18, to talk about Erdogan’s visit to Washington and the Turkish dimension of the impeachment investigations.

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