ISIL: Turkey Must
Correct the 'Misperceptions' of its Allies (Hurriyet, Turkey)
points of disagreement between Turkey and international public opinion,
especially in the Western bloc, produce unfair judgments and misperceptions.
Claims that Turkey prefers ISIL to the Syrian Kurdish
Democratic Union Party - and that it still supports the jihadist militants are
groundless. … It is of great importance for Turkey to take steps to correct the
misperceptions that have spread from its own region to Europe and from NATO to
the U.N. This can only be done by recalibrating its position vis-à-vis Syria
and the fight against the brutality of ISIL."
"NATO's involvement may be perceived as religious war."
This assumption belongs to Ambassador FatihCeylan - Turkey's permanent representative at NATO. In an
interview with Turkish BBC,
Ambassador Ceylan responded to a question about NATO
involvement in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) as follows:
"NATO's straight-forward involvement could risk
sparking different perceptions in the region. There is no a fight between the Christian
and Muslim worlds here. There is terror here - and it should be defeated. This
has nothing to with Christians or Muslims. It should be well-known that it is
not a religious war, and terrorist groups like ISIL
should not be allowed to make mischief about this."
Ceylan's statements come as NATO
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg paid his second visit to Turkey since taking
office amid calls by Turkey for the international community to establish safe
havens within Syria and no-fly-zones over Syrian airspace. Stoltenberg clearly
states that this issue hasn't been brought up within NATO – and he went further,
saying that it was the anti-ISIL coalition that needs
to take up Turkey's proposals. So why Turkey seeks insistently to bring this
issue before the NATO Council when it says it believes NATO involvement would
cause additional difficulty is hard to fathom.
Stoltenberg's central message was that the alliance is ready
to defend Turkey in case of attack, and that Patriot missile systems will be
deployed as long as Turkey needs them.
Officials of Turkey and NATO are obviously working on contingency
plans, but that doesn't mean the alliance is ready to cooperate with Turkey to establish
As for the U.S.-led anti-ISIL
coalition, the situation isn't too different. Turkey's objectives and
priorities differ sharply from those of coalition members. Turkey says it won't
move a finger without seeing a comprehensive strategy to deal with both the Assad
regime and ISIL. The coalition, however, doesn't regard
Damascus as an imminent threat and is cooperating with the Assad regime to
facilitate aerial attacks on ISIL targets.
Posted By Worldmeets.US
Although the military-to-military dialogue between Turkey
and the U.S. continues as usual, following-up on envoy the visit of Global
Coalition to Counter ISIL General John Allen's visit
to Turkey, one can hardly describe these conversations as "sound." In
addition, Turkey's Chief of General Staff General NecdetÖzel "kindly" declined to attend a key meeting
in the United States next week.
Over the past few days, there have been reactions from regional
heavyweights Iran and Russia, which have openly voiced objections to Turkey's
plans to establish safe havens inside Syria.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov
was in Ankara on the same day as the NATO chief and American delegation. Russia
has conveyed the message that any military operations in Syria require U.N.
Security Council consent. Iran has vowed that it will never allow the
dissolution of the Assad regime, and urged Turkey not to initiate the declaration
of safe havens inside the country.
The points of disagreement between Turkey and international
public opinion, especially in the Western bloc, also produce unfair judgments
and misperceptions. Claims that Turkey prefers ISIL
to the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) - and
that it still supports the jihadist militants are groundless.
Turkey, though, also bears responsibility for fueling such claims.
A European source, speaking on condition of anonymity, emphasized that, "The
foreign policy Turkey has been pursuing in the region is impossible to understand
– is not understandable at all to Europeans."
The source described Turkey's policy and interests as
ambiguous, especially when it comes to the Syrian theater, and that it has so
far failed to produce substantive plans beyond rhetoric making a priority of
destroying the al-Assad regime.
"Turkey should be part of the coalition and make its
objectives clear to its closest allies," stressed the source.
It is of great importance for Turkey to take steps to
correct the misperceptions that have spread from its own region to Europe and from
NATO to the U.N. This can only be done by recalibrating its position vis-à-vis
Syria and the fight against the brutality of ISIL.