Turkey: No Strikes on ISIS from Our Territory

In March of this year, a recording was leaked of a conversation between some high level Turkish officials including Ahmet Davutoglu (current Prime Minister of Turkey), Hakan Fidan (Head of Turkish Intelligence), Feridun Sinirlioglu (Turkish Under Secretary of Foreign Affairs), and Yasar Guler (Deputy Chief of the Turkish Military Staff),    The recordings were posted on youtube with an English translation.  At the time, a number of Turkish professionals including doctors, lawyers and politicians  signed a letter demaning that PM Erdogan be charged with War Crimes based on the information leaked.  A week after the leak, Turkey blocked Youtube from the internet.    This was a very big scandal and the Turkish government said posting the leaks was villainous.   The most discussed aspect of the recordings was the men’s discussion of a false flag attack on the tomb of Shah Suleyman, a Turkish landmark that is located in Syria.

But the discussion spends more time centered around the question of whether they should prepare to fight ISIS.   There  discussion suggests that  John Kerry was involved but it isn’t clear what role he was playing.    In any case, someone in the chain of commad was sandbagging the initiative back in March.    in retrospect, it seems possible, if not likely, that Kerry was indeed pressing them to fight ISIS.   He might have been trying to get them to trigger a larger fight worthy of US intervention, or he might, I suppose, have just been trying to get the Turks to drive ISIS out of their sphere of control.  Unfortunately, the latter would be pretty impossible since Turkey had already lost control.

And, then as now, it is clear that it would be suicidal for the Turkish government to attack, or to allow the US to create a forward base on it’s territory from which to do so.  Like Al Nusra, members of ISIS have been crossing the Turkish border with impunity for a couple of years, and ISIS is exporting their oil through Turkey as well.   ISIS and Al Nusra have dismantled factories in Aleppo, then trucked them to Turkey where the reassembled  and started operating them.  Turkey has been supporting ISIS and Al Nusra camps within it’s borders and allowing them to control critical border crossings into Syria.   There are many members of these groups in Turkey at any given time, and many more could flood in very quickly.   If Turkey were to go to war against ISIS in Iraq or Syria, it would soon be fighting the war within it’s own borders.

This is very interesting given that the Turks are currently refusing to join the coalition Obama recently announced he would organize to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria.  As NATO Members, they would surely be under an obligation to do so.   When I first came home from Syria, I wrote a piece were I expressed my disappointment in Tayyep Erdogan, the Turkish President.   When he first came to power, he seemed to be showing a lot of good sense, through forming trade agreements and alliances with neighboring countries and Iran/.  He openly espoused a policy of regional tolerance and good will.   His government worked with the Brazilian government to negotialte a deal with the Iranians that met US President Obama’s specifications, only to find their work summarily dismissed and ignored.  The Isreli governmen was deliberately  insulting to the Turks after the Mavi Marmara fiasco where the IDF killed a number of innocent Turkish citizens and aide workeres.   It was a bizarre and frightening incident.

I wondered,, in that article, what caused President Erdogan to change his mind.   I speculated that the devil came and whispered in his ear.”Time to pay up”.    Turkey is a NATO member aand you will have to support our agenda.   And what would te reward be.   Well, mybe Suria.   Who knows.   The US has a big base at ncirlik Turkey where CIA and Special Ops guys are obtaining and sharing intelligence, and training Syrian militias.   Nw they are Turkey’s problem.  And it’s a big one.  Looks like Turkey’s on the wrong end of the stick right now.  But who knows.  This year, they reached out to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).   I thought (and probably the Chinese did as well)  that they were probalbly just a trpkam horse for US intelligence.   The US applied to join the SCO several years ago and was emphatically rejected on the basis that the SCO is a regional organization, and the US isn’t located in their region.   But, maybe Turkey’s looking for an out.   They have been set up big time, with the US supporting the Kurds’ drive for independence and ISIS trainees all graduated and now threatening Turkey from within..

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