Ottoman Hustler

by mkleit
Turkish president Recip-Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish president Recip-Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish president Recip-Tayyip Erdogan has understood the economic and geopolitical importance of the Iranian nuclear deal. Iran will have now more power in the Middle East to support its affiliates, especially Syria, which would diminish Erdogan’s hopes in toppling Bashar al-Assad’s regime. This would explain the policy-change Erdogan took towards ISIL, by supporting the US-led coalition against the terrorist group, and in return, US would support Turkey in toppling the Syrian regime and support his plan to create a buffer zone in Northern Syria.

Map of Middle East with Kurdistan

Map of Middle East with Kurdistan

The Turkish government has done its best to practice madness in politics and military in the past few weeks, and sometimes, schizophrenia. First, it has a dream to topple neighboring Syria’s regime, thus it supported armed opposition divisions, as well as radical brigades like Ahrar al-Sham and others. Then, it logistically aided ISIL, whom are anti-regime and anti-opposition and are looking for build their own state. And finally, bombing sites for Kurdish brigades, whom have their own dream of an independent Kurdistan. A dream that Turkey has always fought to stop, politically and militarily.

It’s not a surprise why the Turkish government would raid several PKK sites in Syria and Iraq, but it’s strange that this would happen after a terrorist attacks targeting a pro-Kurdish rally in Suruc, southern Turkey, on July 23rd, killing 32 persons and wounding 100 others. The Turkish government later on held ISIL responsibility of the attack. But wait a minute! Turkish government accuses ISIL yet it attacks Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq? Yes.

Erdogan’s has succeeded in making use of the terrorist attack by launching air-strikes on the Kurds and ISIL at the same, with the Kurds suffering the most of it. In the end, Turkey wouldn’t go too far in bombing ISIL, the group that Turkey itself trained and opened routes in and out of Syria and Iraq, as well as opening a market for ISIL-connected oil smugglers coming from oil-rich areas of Deir al-Zour and Raqqa in Eastern and Northern Syria.

Kurdish fighters heading for Kobane in Northern Syria to fight ISIL

Kurdish fighters heading for Kobane in Northern Syria to fight ISIL

He also used the “humanitarian crisis” to support his claims during a press conference at one of Turkey’s airports before heading to China on the 28th of July, when saying that creating a buffer zone in Northern Syria “would help a million and 700 thousand refugees go back” and then adding “no peace process with those who endanger Turkish unity”, meaning the creation of an independent Kurdistan which would take part of Turkish lands. But the Turkish government, headed by Erdogan’s right-hand man, Ahmet Davutoğlu, is resuming talks with Turkish political parties, including the Kurds, to create the new government, which just adds to dichotomy.

But there’s a reason for this new rhetoric, since war a sign to escape the loss in the recent parliamentary elections and the upcoming government, as well as winning people’s support, by manufacturing fear and insecurity. Thus the war on the Kurds would make the latter think twice before forming Kurdistan, as well as joining Kurdish areas in northern Syria after it was dismantled by ISIL militants.

Erdogan making the ISIS beast a friendly pet

Erdogan making the ISIS beast a friendly pet

Although over six ISIL-related attacks occurred in Turkey and threats of more to come, as German intelligence warned Turkish governments of attacks targeting metro stations and malls in Istanbul; Turkey has not placed ISIL on its terrorist list yet.

Nonetheless, ISIL was able to succeed in one thing – if it was ever intentional; it loosened the Kurdish forces’ pressure on northern Syria by shifting the latter’s fights gradually towards the Syrian – Iraqi – Turkish joint borders, as well as letting Turkey focus on bombing Kurdish military sites in Iraq and Syria – as if Turkey never wanted that to happen.

While the Kurds have also made use of the ISIL attacks by forming their own local security forces in Kurdish cities in Southern and Eastern Turkey. Soon enough, roadblocks, identity checks, questioning of passengers, and prevention of state security from entering those areas will soon be evident in the aforementioned cities.

Through all this, the “war on terror” rhetoric that Erdogan has been waving recently, seems to be another PR campaign for his political party, in addition to a pretext to start a war on the Kurds, and possibly the Syrian army. But his newly-made war may turn into a war of three fronts: ISIL, Kurds, and Syrian army, which Erdogan wouldn’t be sure he could handle, knowing that the first two are inside Turkey already.

Published also on: Teleghraph

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