Use of Terrorists as Foreign Policy Tool Ensnares Turkey (Die Presse, Austria)
RecepTayyipErdoğan entered into some blind arrangement with the Islamists
because both sides literally want to banish Bahar
al-Assad to the desert, then by now he must have noticed that his tactic has spectacularly
backfired. It was an unparalleled miscalculation. Proving again what happens
when one tries to do business with a madman like the IS leader, al-Baghdadi recently
threatened to kill Erdogan."
Of all the perplexing, grotesque and particularly dismaying
news we've read in recent weeks on the subject of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist
organization, the following from Turkey is a prime example of the utter madness
of these hangmen. Via Twitter, the thugs of IS announced the opening of a
“consulate” in Istanbul. Those wanting to join the jihad were invited send an e-maul
- no kidding - to email@example.com. Although this short message and the
associated home page were quickly deleted, in Turkey, the terror group likely
encounters few obstacles to recruiting followers. IS has made itself rather
comfortable in the country.
However weighty the accusation, this is the conclusion of both
the population of the nation and attentive foreign observers. The most striking
point here is the government's political and military restraint, and its failure
to properly inform the population on the issue of the Islamic State. As to
the former, the ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP]
has long had good reason to be reticent. During their march across Iraq, the
terrorists took 49 Turkish citizens hostage - for 101 days. That is why Turkey
let it be known that it would not join the international coalition against IS. Meanwhile,
the hostages were released and Ankara is preparing for an invasion of a town [Kobani] along the Syrian
border. This sudden zest for military activity has little to do with the hostages
who have been released, but rather with the immediate danger to Turkey posed by
IS. The jihadists already control large swaths of territory on the Syrian side
of the border.
To what extend the governing AKP
has been compromised by its association with the Islamic State is difficult to
know. Substantiating an impression drawn out of vague circumstantial evidence will
take a good deal of time - and there is another question. During an interview
with left-wing opposition newspaper Aydinlik, a 28-year-old IS fighter claimed that the AKP has always treated the Islamists very generously. He
said that if he and many others hadn’t received medical treatment and other
forms of assistance in Turkey, that IS wouldn't be where it is today.
Ironically, “where it is right today” happens to be just outside the gates of
If President Recep Tayyip Erdogan entered into some blind arrangement
with the Islamists because both sides literally want to banish Bahar al-Assad to the desert, then by now he must have
noticed that his tactic has spectacularly backfired. It was an unparalleled miscalculation.
Proving again what happens when one tries to do business with a madman like the
IS leader, al-Baghdadi recently threatened to kill Erdogan.
The list of terrorist activities conducted by the
terrorist militia in the country and generously ignored by Ankara is long. The
Turkish-Syrian border region is honeycombed with weapons Turkey has provided to
the Islamists for the toppling of al-Assad. Over recent months – even years, the jihadists
have been able to organize themselves into a tightly-run organization
consisting of several small cells that for safety's sake know nothing of each
other but take orders from the same commander. These sleepers pose a great
danger to the security of Turkey.
Moreover, Turkey has played a central role in the smuggling
of oil. According to observers, the black gold stolen by the Islamists flows
through pipelines located along and through the Turkish border. It was oil that
made IS the wealthiest terrorist organization in history. Every day it earns up
to $2 million.
In view of these scenarios, a military strike along
the border would provide only short-term relief: hardly anyone doubts that the
Islamic State is comfortably settled in Turkey. By the way, radicals can also be
found among the torrent of refugees flowing into the country as a result of the
Syrian Civil War.