Sunday, October 11, 2015

Turkey Remains Staunch After Ankara Attack

October 10th - a march for peace in Ankara, Turkey, was devastated by a twin blast purported to have been carried out by ISIL, killing over 100 protestors. 

Many unwittingly believe Turkey, with its status as a modern state in the Middle East, is one of the key powers fighting the Islamic State. However, the truth lies far from this supposed ideal, tangled in a complex web of foreign and domestic interests. 

If Turkey's involvement in Syria were fighting terrorism, in any capacity, the likely target of such an attack would have been the government itself. The fact that the attack occurred close to the nation's largest railway station, terminus, is a clear indication that the intended victims of this attack were the peace-loving Turkish civilians themselves.

Even laying out the fundamental background of the conflict in Syria is a difficult feat, especially when trying to explore who is fighting who and what Turkish involvement in Syria looks like. 

Although Turkey claims that it's fighting terrorism in Syria, it has carried out an extensive campaign against the very element whose role in fighting ISIL has been the most effective over the last several months. 

The Kurdish fight for independence in Turkey is an ongoing conflict now in its 31st year. The P.K.K., cloaked Y.P.G within the Syrian context, has been fighting the Turkish military in the hopes of Kurdish independence throughout this time and is now involved in the fight against Bashar Al Assad as well as the Islamic State. 

The Kurds, fighting extremism and dictatorship, are who America is facilitating. But, since Turkey sees the current conflict as a chance to dismantle the Kurdish resistance entirely, it's taking a mind-boggling gamble and arming the very group that has killed well over 100 of Turks in just one brazen attack, after several other similar actions. 

President Erdogan of Turkey, dubbed a hardline nationalist and islamist, has had everything to say about the recent surge in violence in his country except that extremism was the cause of it. He's placed blame on the West for its support of the Kurds in Syria, calling the Kurds who are fighting the Islamic State "terrorists". Since when do terrorists fight terrorists and dictators all at once? The argument is difficult to make, if not entirely impossible. 

While the P.K.K. is listed as a terrorist organization even by the United States, it's unwise for it to stand idly by while its only functional ally on the ground is continuously held back by competing domestic interests in Turkey. 

Much more worrying than any chance of Kurdish independence in the areas recently won by the Y.P.G. are the substantiated reports that Turkey is one of the Islamic State's key allies in terms of arming the group. This, along side the fact that Turkey can be seen as a strategic ally for its bombing of the Y.P.G, shows that Erdogan is going out of his way to create further instability in the region.

Global Research has a multitude of examples that highlight Turkey's position as the one discussed here. These are often through a lack of communication between the United States and Turkey, assumedly allies, on matters of military activity in Syria. 

An extract goes on to remark, "In the wake of the raid that killed Abu Sayyaf, suspicious of an undeclared alliance have hardened. One senior western official familiar with the intelligence gathered at the slain leader's compound said that direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking Isis members was now 'undeniable'". 

It has now become worryingly apparent that Turkey's governing leadership is content to use the current conflict as a means of domestic maneuvering. No matter how many more civilians are claimed by this conflict, beyond the hundreds of thousands already seemingly overlooked. For Erdogan, no one life - or even a million - seems to carry enough weight. 

Just one day after tragedy struck Ankara, Iraq reported having successfully carried out a strike on an ISIS convoy. Some news agencies, notably CNN, claimed that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was in this convoy. The claim seems highly unlikely and lacks substantiation. Nevertheless, a major strike against an ISIS convoy, as was the case today, highlights that Turkey's neighbors will continue their fight.

Erdogan's actions warrant a serious reexamination of the US-Western-Turkish relations. The current situation shows the rift and revision of who the West may view as its partners, as the United States and Iran find themselves on the same side - but not alongside Turkey. As the world looks for sustainable success in the region, it has to begin to place pressure on the states that either overtly or covertly support extremism and there's no better time than now. 

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