Turkey caught in a vicious Syrian circle bringing terror and war at home

Bilateral meeting European Union-Turkey at the G20 Summit in China. From left to right: Jean-Claude Junker, President of the European Commission, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish President. Shoot location: Hangzhou – China. Shoot date: 04/09/2016. Copyright: European Union.

Bilateral meeting European Union-Turkey at the G20 Summit in China. From left to right: Jean-Claude Junker, President of the European Commission, Donald Tusk, President of the European Council and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish President. Shoot location: Hangzhou – China. Shoot date: 04/09/2016. Copyright: European Union.

The Turkish government, under the iron hand of the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, felt obliged to further challenge the Americans in the troubled region of the Middle East this past week. Deputy Prime Minister Veysi Kaynak and Erdogan’s spokesman Ibrahim Kalin questioned the presence of the US led coalition forces at the key air base of Incirlik, in southern Turkey. This facility constitutes the backbone of the American military presence in this part of Middle East and offers indispensable back up for the US targets in Syria.

It must be taken into account though, that Ankara hopes Donald Trump, after he takes his place in the Oval Office of the White House on 20 January, will amend the US’s stance vis-à-vis both Turkey and Russia. Kalin said it plainly. He stressed he believes the US President – elect will be more sensitive to Turkey’s considerations. Ankara, by also putting on the table  the US, and why not the NATO, presence at Incirlik, is very possibly preparing to negotiate with the new US Administration from a better position.

Ankara prepares for Trump

This is one more step forward by Erdogan in the direction of a full strategy u-turn, choosing to side with Russia and questioning Turkey’s traditional alliance with the US and NATO. Actually, Incirlik is a NATO base. Ankara, together with Moscow, have now drafted a common agenda in relation to their Syrian, and not only interests, despite the fact that they have been so far supporting opposing warring factions all along the deadly Syrian civil war. Russia backed the Syrian President Bashar al Assad, while Turkey supported the rebels fighting to oust him. It seems that the two powers have now found a conciliation of their strategic targets, after both of them were kicked out of the US led western strategy in the wider region.

The Ankara – Moscow rapprochement has already produced tangible results. This was evident some weeks ago with the conquest of Eastern Aleppo by the Assad forces, after Turkey actually deserted the rebels (plus some close to ISIS groups), who had been occupying half the ancient city for years, with Ankara’s until recently relentless support. However, Erdogan’s full policy change in the Syrian inferno had dangerous and divisive internal repercussions.

Sunni Turkey opposed Assad on a religious basis as well. The two sides belong to the opposing Muslim dogmas of the Sunni and Shia respectively. The murder of the Russian envoy in Ankara and the deadly attack in the Istanbul nightclub on New Year’s Eve must be related to the fact that Turkey let down the Sunni fighters of Aleppo and sided with the Russians and the Shia Iranians. Let’s see how the new backdrop is now reshaped for Turkey.

The cost of changing course

Unquestionably, Turkey is deeply perplexed in Syria, after being now forced to truly fight ISIS. Here is why: until recently, Ankara secretly helped ISIS fight the Kurds, just to prevent the latter from vanquishing the butcher jihadists and thus expand the Kurdish gains on the ground. Presently though, Turkey suffers heavy losses in trying to uproot ISIS by herself  from their stronghold in Al Bab and expand her territorial clout. As for the Kurds, the secure establishment of the Kurdish Popular Protection Units (YPG) military forces and their political constituent the Democratic Union Party (DYP) in the north of Syria have created a deadly threat even for Turkey’s territorial integrity.

Evidently, the close cooperation, if not common military and political organization and targets, of the Syrian Kurds and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in Turkey proper (PKK), present an existential threat for Ankara. As a result, Ankara is now obliged to conduct a double fronted war against the Kurds primarily and  ISIS secondly. Turkey couldn’t sit back and watch the Kurds exterminating ISIS and seizing the territory which the butchers held.

Why Erdogan mistrust the US

It is even more infuriating for Erdogan that the Americans are stuck in their alliance with the Kurds of Syria. This association came naturally after the long and close US relationship with the Iraqi Kurds, and the undeniable fact that the US found no other reliable force on Syrian soil to support Washington’s wider interests in the region. The Kurds proved to be not only highly effective on the military front during the long and devastating Syrian war, but managed to wed their own ‘national’ interests with the not always clear military and political targets of the US.

It was inevitable then, that Ankara accused the US of materially and politically backing the Syrian Kurds, the deadly enemy of Turkey. In this way, the US has virtually heightened, if not intentionally aimed at jeopardizing, the territorial and national security of Turkey. On top of that, Turkey accuses the US of having protected, if not cooperated with Fethullah Gulen, a long time mentor but now deadly enemy of Erdogan. Gulen is a powerful Turkish cleric operating a strong network of high ranking bureaucrats, military, judges, academics, religious schools, businesses and media in Turkey, who has reportedly cooperated with CIA in last July’s failed coup. Despite Ankara’s cleansing operation, in which tens of thousands of Gulen’s followers were imprisoned or just kicked out from the armed forces, the judiciary, the police and the state machine, the cleric is still thought to  possess a strong leverage in what is going on in the country. In short, Erdogan has a lot to blame the Americans for.

What can Trump do?

As for Washington, it will be very difficult for Donald Trump to alienate the US from the Kurds. Already the Turkey-Russia conciliation has prescribed them. Moscow happily agreed to that, since the Kurds constitute the US strong card on Syrian soil. If Washington abandons them, it will be practically impossible to find another proxy force to back the wider American interests in this part of the Middle East.

Trump or not then, Washington can’t change her strategy in Syria, unless primarily Russia and to a lesser extent Turkey, have something else, equally important to trade with the Americans. But this is a very improbable prospect and the war against ISIS and its eventual defeat doesn’t come under this heading. The US wages as much warfare as it needs against the butcher jihadists in both Iraq and Syria.

Turkey’s enemies

If one puts all that together, Erdogan personally, and Turkey in general, have created a new series of powerful enemies. For one thing, Washington even under Trump and, to a certain degree, Western Europe including Paris, London and Berlin cannot find a new understanding with Ankara. It’s not only the Kurds. Nobody in the West can trust Erdogan anymore. The Europeans are horrified with the Erdogan-Putin rapprochement. The EU is also dismayed with the millions of refugees stationed in Turkey, with Erdogan menacing to start sending them by the thousands to the Greek islands again .

Then come the Gulenists who have escaped the pogroms. Erdogan knows that there are many still left around. If the information about the close relation between Gulen and the CIA is true, then Turkey has fashioned a new and fearsome foe. However, the worst new enemy that Erdogan recently made are… some millions of Turks. A large part of the population had been very happy with their country’s affiliation with the Sunni insurgents in Syria, including ISIS. Now they are let down by Erdogan’s full u-turn, associating the country with Russia, who bombards the Sunni fighters. Not to say anything about the new affiliation with the Shia Iran. In reality, Turkey has gained nothing out of all that, with the war and the terror now reaching her heart.

Hostile US and EU

On top of that, neither the Turks nor the Russians, even supported by the Iranians, aren’t able to shake the US and the entire West off from Syria. Last week’s joint effort by Ankara, Moscow and Tehran to impose their own ceasefire and then supposedly strike a political solution of their own in the war-torn country, even if it succeeds, doesn’t mean that the US and the West is chased from the table. The territory which the Kurds hold –effectively supported by the West – is almost half of Syria. On top of that, the West can very effectively corner Turkey in the economic and financial fronts.

In conclusion, as far as Turkey is concerned, her policy zigzag in Syria has certainly arose splintering internal divisions and will cost her dearly in the economic and financial facets too.  The West has already blocked the country’s heavy industry, tourism.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

It’s time to move: 5 ways we can upgrade our SDG navigation systems

What lies ahead for the Korean Peninsula?

Lies and reality about incomes and wealth in the EU

More electric cars on EU roads by 2030

‘Education transforms lives’ says UN chief on first-ever International Day

The Ultimate Career Choice: General Practice Specialist

VW diesel scandal and climate change: can increased independent car checks lead to cleaner mobility?

These are the 3 key skill sets workers will need to learn by 2030

Forward Agenda: What can we expect from 2019?

Privacy is a human right, we need a GDPR for the world: Microsoft CEO

Eurozone: Despite anemic growth and shaky banks marks record trade surplus

This billion-dollar campaign wants to protect 30% of the planet by 2030

Chart of the day: These countries have the highest share of electric vehicles

Ukraine undecided over a strategic partnership with the EU

When did globalization begin? The answer might surprise you

Trump beats Clinton but Americans will learn the hard way that the US can’t change with an election

MEPs list conditions for new EU-Azerbaijan deal

This is how AI can help you make sense of the world

ECB doesn’t dare touch Eurozone’s big banks

Youth for Climate Change

Ambassador Zhang Ming: “Work Together for a Better Globalization”

How to talk about climate change: 5 tips from the front lines

Health Committee MEPs back plans to boost joint assessment of medicines

Saudi Arabia must halt air strikes in Yemen, says UN panel

Any doubt?

Algeria must stop arbitrary expulsion of West African migrants in desert: UN migration rights expert

How populist and xenophobic movements in the EU tear apart European businesses and startups

A Sting Exclusive live from Brussels: Solheim’s consequential visit leading the world and the UN

First EU collective redress mechanism to protect consumers

Quicker freezing and confiscation of criminal assets in the EU

This woman solved one of the biggest problems facing green energy

Shifting Tides: Policy Challenges and Opportunities for the G-20

First Western Sahara talks at UN in six years, begin in Geneva

TTIP: why it is worth not to pull the covers over your head?

Here are three ways blockchain can change refugees’ lives

Libya: $202 million needed to bring life-saving aid to half a million people hit by humanitarian crisis

Why and how Germany had it again its own way in Cyprus

UN chief calls for ‘increased commitment’ to resolution on 10th anniversary of Georgia conflict

Ambassador Zhang wishes from Brussels great success and prosperity for the China-EU relations in the Year of the Dog

MEPs back plans to halt spread of drug resistance from animals to humans

This afternoon Britain will be once more isolated from mainland Europe

Conflict and climate change challenge sustainable development effort: UN report

EU Top Jobs summit ended with no agreement: welcome to Europe’s quicksand!

EU to lead one more fight against climate change at G7 summit

‘Repeated attacks’ could close down key hospital in eastern Libya, says WHO

The strong version of the EU banking union gains momentum

7 ways for businesses to capture the youth dividend

A European student just sets the question of the day: What kind of education policies are missing in Europe?

Contact the Sting

EU economy: Between recession and indiscernible growth

Global Talent – Professional Internships

Using ‘leprosy’ metaphors in political rhetoric ‘fuels public stigma’ and discrimination: UN rights expert

EU Commission: Germany can make Eurozone grow again just by helping itself

Can indoor farming feed the world?

The US bugged Europe: Is this news?

Why CFOs need to rethink what it means to create value

EU makes key TTIP document public as protests get louder

Key Brazilian border crossing for Venezuela refugees reopens as asylum numbers pass last year’s total

Miguel Arias Cañete European Commission

EU should invest more in climate and not sit back on its laurels and watch

Trump ostracized by his party and world elites but still remains in course; how can he do it?

More Stings?

Trackbacks

  1. […] Turkey caught in a vicious Syrian circle bringing terror and war at home […]

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s