DURHAM, N.H. – Melinda Negrón-Gonzales, an assistant professor, at the University of New Hampshire at Manchester is available to comment on the announcement by the Trump administration to arm Syrian Kurds in hopes that they will gain grounds to recapture the Islamic State, despite opposition from United States ally Turkey, which views the Kurds as terrorists.

Melinda Negrón-Gonzales is an associate professor and program coordinator of the Politics and Society Program. She teaches courses on international relations, comparative politics, and terrorism. Negrón-Gonzales's expertise include international politics, Turkish Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, humanitarian intervention/responsibility to protect/human security, social movements, and democratization. She's written about the international community's response to the humanitarian crisis in Syria, and also the Organization for Islamic Cooperation's counter-terrorism initiatives in response to ISIS terrorism in the Middle East and North Africa. 

“The Syrian Kurdish YPG forces have been the most effective against ISIS on the ground in Syria, so this would seem like a good effort to strengthen the group. However, it is highly controversial because Turkey, America’s NATO ally, sees the YPG as an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which they consider a terrorist organization.”

“What is concerning is the timing. President Erdogan is scheduled to meet with President Trump next week in Washington and the decision to arm the YPG adds to the tensions. Groups in Turkey are already calling on Erdogan to reconsider his visit. In the past, Turkey has warned that arming the YPG could lead to “negative consequences” for the US, implying they could limit the use of Incirlik air base.”

Negrón-Gonzales can be reached at (603) 641-4364 or [email protected].