Monday, 10 August 2015

Turkey attacking the ISIS?

In recent days I think one of the worst possible moves the US has made in a long time was to throw the Kurds to the Turks in order to gain support and the use of an airbase against the ISIS. Turkey has immediately seized the opportunity to punish the Kurds, labelling them 'terrorists' and bombing them anywhere and everywhere. Since the Kurdish forces were the only effective force against the ISIS thugs, this is likely to rebound badly - particularly on the US and its plans. The Kurds feel they have been betrayed, and they're probably justified.

Turkey's president has his own agenda. Until very recently he has been covertly supporting the ISIS, mainly by NOT doing anything to stem the flow of recruits, but by also refusing to allow the Kurds to pass through Turkey en route to attack these psychopaths. Now, in a cunning move, he's declared that Turkish forces will attack the 'terrorists' in Syria and Iraq - and promptly attacked the Kurds. The Turkish media is, of course, full of stories of how the Kurds are evil terrorists who want to break up the country and will murder all true Turks in their beds. And Uncle Sam, with Washington's usual crass lack of understanding of any non-American culture or nation, has endorsed Turkey's 'war on terror' so it can use an airbase closer to the front.

As I said, I suspect that the result of this little political misstep will lead to even worse problems in the future. Erdogan (pronounced, so I'm told, as Erdo-wan), expected a landslide in the most recent elections. Instead the 25 million Kurds in Turkey gave him a hung Parliament, and now they reap the reward - a purge of all Kurdish Parties and politicians on the grounds they support terrorism. And Uncle Sam, having got what he wanted looks on while Erdogan's armed forces round up his opposition at home and bomb the Kurds more heavily than they are doing to the ISIS. Turkey has a long and bloody history when it comes to minorities and minority rights. I wonder if anyone in Washington has even heard of the Armenian Genocide. Perhaps they haven't, but I suspect they may now be a party to a new and perhaps more subtle form in Erdogan's war on the Kurds.

I expect it looked good on paper. But the payback may be something Washington may not like in the longer term.

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