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Articles on Turkey after 2015
Erdogan's wars
Articles before 2015

  • (august 2015) Erdogan's wars.
    It is incredible how international events can be driven by the electoral ambitions of some megalomaniacs. Israel's prime minister Netanyahu has created all sorts of problems in his backyard just to be reelected. Turkey's president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is now doing the same in Turkey after his party Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost the majority in recent parliamentary elections. Let's start from the beginning. Erdogan pretty much invented ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). When in 2011 the "Arab Spring" spread to the streets of Damascus and popular protests seemed to be about to topple Syria's dictator Bashar Assad, Erdogan's Turkey clearly sided with the rebels. So far so good. But Assad's regime proved harder to topple than Mubarak in Egypt. Erdogan, a Sunni fanatic, was so obsessed with getting rid of Assad (an Alawite ruling over a mostly Sunni country) that he gladly allowed thousands of Islamists to enter Syria via Turkey. As Martin Chulov wrote in the Guardian: "Turkey has openly supported other jihadi groups, such as Ahrar al-Sham, which espouses much of al-Qaeda's ideology, and the Nusra Front, which is proscribed as a terror organisation by much of the US and Europe." Thousands of Syrian refugees fled into Turkey. Many of them were willing to go back and fight against the Islamists, but, in one of the most grotesque refugee situations ever, Erdogan forbade them from reentering Syrian territory. Meanwhile, Erdogan was allowing Turkish middlemen to help the Islamists smuggle oil and antiquities out of the conquered oil fields and museums of Syria and Iraq, thus helping ISIS finance its terror campaign. ISIS would not even show on a map without Erdogan's criminal tacit complicity. Now, after allowing ISIS to grow, accumulate money and arms, and expand, finally Erdogan has decided to bomb ISIS. His target is not ISIS though...
    The other obsession that he has is the Kurds. He is fundamentally a racist who cannot digest the idea that Kurds exist. Unfortunately, Turkey has 14 million Kurds out of a total population of 78 million. Erdogan's predecessors a century ago exterminated most of the Armenians and he probably regrets that they didn't finish the Kurds too. The entity that has been fighting for Kurdish independence within Turkey is the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), shamelessly labeled a "terrorist organization" by the European Union and the USA. For mysterious reasons it is ok if the Palestinians or the Kosovars fight for independence but it is not ok if the Kurds do so.
    The Kurds are spread across Turkey, Syria and Iraq. Unfortunately for Erdogan, the (Syrian) Kurds have proven to be the only effective force fighting both Assad's regime and ISIS. The Syrian Kurdish region has become de facto independent and governed by the Democratic Union Party (PYD). The PYD and its armed wing, the People's Protection Units (YPG), are the ones behind the only significant success in fighting ISIS: the reconquest of the town of Kobane. Belonging to the same ethnic group despite silly borders designed by the old colonial powers, it is no surprise that the PYD is on friendly terms with the PKK. Erdogan cannot tolerate a Kurdish state on the Turkish border, the very same reason behind his strong opposition to partitioning Iraq in Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish states, despite the fact that the Kurdish province is the only peaceful and prosperous (and secular and pro-Western) region of Iraq.
    Only now that the Kurds have become such an important factor in the fight against ISIS has Erdogan decided to bomb ISIS. But that is so obviously just an excuse to diminish the importance of the Kurds. In fact, Turkey has not really bombed ISIS as much as it has targeted Kurds in all three countries where they live: Syria, Iraq and Turkey itself. Turkish planes hit Kurdish fighters in all three countries.
    The official excuse to enter the war was a suicide attack that killed 32 volunteers who were ready to help rebuild Kobane. But those 32 young men were Kurds, not Turks. And many in Turkey immediately suspected that Erdogan had some responsibility in that suicide attack, so much so that the PKK killed two Turkish police officers in retaliation for that suicide attack. In other words, the PKK ignored the official version of the facts (that ISIS had killed 32 volunteers) and opted for an alternative and almost opposite version: that Erdogan had engineered that massacre in order to weaken the Kurds fighting ISIS in Syria.
    Erdogan announced that Turkey was bombing ISIS targets in Syria on a friday, but the very following day Turkey began bombing Kurdish targets in northern Iraq. And the British-based monitoring group Syrian Observatory for Human Rights unequivocably reported that "a number of shells fired by Turkish tanks fell on the village of Zur Maghar, which is controlled by the YPG".
    After 4 years of indifference towards the massacres in Syria, Erdogan is suddenly hysterical about fighting ISIS, and has summoned a special meeting of NATO to create a safe haven in Syrian territory along the Turkish border. Needless to say, that is precisely the territory controlled by Syrian Kurds. In other words, Erdogan's real goal is to demilitarize the only force that has been successful in fighting ISIS. Within two weeks, Turkey had carried out only three bombings on ISIS position, but about 400 on Kurdish positions.
    ISIS is dangerous, but Erdogan is probably more dangerous. The PKK may have been a terrorist organization in the past but Erdogan has legitimized them. Shame on the European Union and the USA for keeping the PKK on their terror lists. We should be arming the PKK in its liberation war against the Nazi-Islamist Erdogan. P.S. Note: my website is currently banned in Turkey and Turkish people will never be able to read this opinion piece just like they cannot view about one million other websites. Shame on the USA and the European Union that accepts a fascist regime like Turkey's in NATO.
    TM, ®, Copyright © 2015 Piero Scaruffi All rights reserved.
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