Turkey and US in Dispute over ISIS and Kurds in Syria: NATO and Rogue State
Ramazan Khalidov, Michiyo Tanabe, and Lee Jay Walker
Modern Tokyo Times
President Erdogan of Turkey is going against the international grain because he and the current ruling party of this nation are focused on containing the Kurds at any cost. Initially, Erdogan – and several Gulf and Western powers – believed that the government of Syria would collapse. However, the Ottoman and Gulf sectarian dream is an utter failure and now Turkey is firmly focused on the Kurdish issue after ISIS (Islamic State – IS) failed to dislodge the Kurds along the border of Turkey. Therefore, the initial objective of Turkey is now being replaced by the Kurdish issue while several Gulf states are now being unnerved by ISIS attacks in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
Since the outset of the crisis in Syria, it became clear that several Gulf and NATO powers believed that they could destabilize the government of this nation. Indeed, from the outset sectarian forces and al-Qaeda affiliates entered the fray based on the meddling of outside powers. Not surprisingly, it some became apparent that Syrian government held areas represented the religious mosaic.
This was in stark comparison with various terrorist and sectarian forces that cleansed Christian and Muslim minorities like the Alawites. At the same time, indigenous Sunni Islam became a prime target for various Sunni Takfiri forces. After all, ISIS and other takfiri forces desire to destroy indigenous Sunni Islam, in order to replicate it with sinister Gulf versions emanating from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Despite this, various Gulf and NATO powers continued to support the destabilization of Syria. However, with the domino reality of undermining Iraq and Libya – and other nations – then suddenly America and others now seek to contain the forces they helped to unleash because the situation is out of control.
Yet while the world is in shock by the utter depravity of ISIS and other sectarian forces unleashed on Syria and Iraq, the same doesn’t apply to President Erdogan and the ruling elites in Turkey. This reality means that despite America and Turkey appearing to be moving closer together in recent weeks, in truth, both nations are still at loggerheads. Alas, Erdogan’s hopes of containing the Kurds in northern Syria and overthrowing the government of Syria now appears to be out of step with fellow NATO powers that are now firmly focused on ISIS.
Al Monitor reports “Turkey and the United States may have agreed on the use of the Incirlik Air Base near the southern city of Adana against the Islamic State in Syria, but the deal appears to have some snags, especially with regard to US assistance to Syrian Kurds fighting IS. This unresolved problem is considered one of the reasons why Incirlik has not been used yet in active operations by the US-led coalition, despite the urgency of the fight against IS and other groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra.”
According to the government of Turkey, the Incirlik agreement doesn’t allow America to give support to the YPG (People’s Protection Units). After all, Turkey deems the containment of the Kurds to be of more importance than ISIS and other takfiri groups like al-Nusra (al-Nusrah). However, for America, the main focus is ISIS and assisting various Kurdish groups in Iraq and Syria respectively. Indeed, even the PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) is viewed differently under the prevailing conditions because the PKK have assisted Kurdish forces that are being supported by America.
The Independent reports about the dangerous fiasco between America and Turkey by stating “Even if this dispute is ultimately resolved, it highlights the contradiction at the heart of US policy: Washington is teaming up with a Turkish government whose prime objective in Syria is to prevent the further expansion of PYD/YPG territory which already extends along 250 miles of the 550-mile-long Syrian-Turkish border. In brief, Ankara’s objective is the precise opposite of Washington’s and little different from that of ISIS, which has been battling on the ground to hold back the PYD/YPG advance.”
Since America and Turkey announced their alleged agreement then clearly the Kurds are suffering and not ISIS. In Iraq military warplanes of Turkey are busying themselves with bombing the PKK in the Qandil Mountains and in other areas of northern Iraq. On top of this, internal security forces in Turkey have mainly arrested Kurds and socialists in comparison with clamping down on ISIS. Similarly, democratic politicians within the HDP (Kurdish People’s Democratic Party) in Turkey face growing hostility based on the intrigues of Erdogan and the ruling party.
In places ranging from Armenia (Nagorno-Karabakh), northern Cyprus, Egypt, Libya and Syria – and in other nations in relation to international jihadists and militant Chechens aimed at southern Russia and Syria – then the real international pariah is Turkey. However, the significance of Turkey within NATO and the old Cold War meant that blind eyes were a done deal in the past. Yet times are changing because Turkey is now coming under closer scrutiny. Therefore, even if fellow NATO powers loathe to speak out openly against Turkey the Kurdish issue will further lead to growing schisms with political elites in Ankara.
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