The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewPatrick Cockburn Archive
The Istanbul Bombings Are a Sign of the Trouble Turkey Is Now in
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New Reply
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

The bombings that killed 38 people and injured 155 after a football match in Istanbul is the latest episode to underline Turkey’s violent instability. Government officials blame the attack on the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), with which the Turkish state has been fighting a guerrilla war since 1984. But only a week ago the spokesman of Isis called on its followers to target “the security, military, economic and media establishment” in Turkey.

The fact that either an offshoot of the PKK or Isis could have carried out the football stadium bombings is a measure of the trouble Turkey is now in. The credibility of the government’s initial attribution of responsibility to the PKK is undermined by its past tendency to claim that that the Kurds are behind any terrorist atrocity, regardless of the evidence. The biggest terrorist attacks in Turkey in recent months – 47 killed at Istanbul International Airport in June and 57 dead at a Kurdish wedding in Gaziantep in August – were both carried out by Isis.

The bombings will no doubt be used by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to justify his proposed assumption of more power under a new bill just submitted to the Turkish parliament. In practice, Erdogan already wields dictatorial powers and Turkey’s shift towards becoming an authoritarian state using arbitrary powers is well under way. The last remnants of the free media are being closed down and journalists are being arrested under the guise of pursuing those responsible for the failed military coup on 15 July. Even before this purge, Kurdish population centres in the south east had been shelled and bulldozed into heaps of rubble.

Erdogan has responded to the Istanbul bombings by swearing to eradicate those responsible, but it was he himself who created the conditions under which terrorism has become a permanent feature of Turkish life. He chose confrontation with the Kurds last year in order to boost his nationalist support at the polls, while the rise of Isis in Syria since 2011 would not have been possible without Turkey’s tolerance of extreme jihadis. For a long time Isis had free passage across the Turkish-Syrian border and al-Qaeda clones, not much different from Isis, received copious supplies of arms and ammunition.

Turkey is today reaping the dire consequences of Erdogan’s past policies which created crises from which he says he will emerge victorious. But this is not going to happen because, again thanks to Erdogan, the PKK and Isis can operate from foreign sanctuaries in Syria and Iraq.

Erdogan could go a step further and increase his present limited military intervention in northern Syria and Iraq. Turkish-backed forces are getting close to the Isis stronghold of al-Bab, 25 miles from Aleppo. Turkey could launch a more widespread assault, ostensibly directed at the de facto Isis capital at Raqqa, but in reality aimed at crushing the Syrian Kurds. The Turkish leader has hitherto combined belligerent rhetoric with practical caution when it comes to Syria and Iraq, but this may not always be so.

(Republished from The Independent by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: ISIS, Kurds, Syria, Turkey 
Hide 8 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
    []
  1. “Erdogan could go a step further and increase his present limited military intervention in northern Syria and Iraq. Turkish-backed forces are getting close to the Isis stronghold of al-Bab, 25 miles from Aleppo. Turkey could launch a more widespread assault, ostensibly directed at the de facto Isis capital at Raqqa, but in reality aimed at crushing the Syrian Kurds. The Turkish leader has hitherto combined belligerent rhetoric with practical caution when it comes to Syria and Iraq, but this may not always be so.”

    Gee, not one mention of Turkey shooting down a Russian Federation plane in Syrian airspace.

    Hey, you suppose now that Turkey has made up with the Russians, Erdogan might shoot down a U.S., U.S.-allied, or Israeli plane also in Syrian airspace, in which none of them, including Turkey, have a right to be?

    If a U.S. or U.S.-allied plane, would that force NATO to declare war on NATO, jeje?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc.
    AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
    These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
    Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
    Sharing Comment via Twitter
    /pcockburn/the-istanbul-bombings-are-a-sign-of-the-trouble-turkey-is-now-in/#comment-1688709
    More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  2. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Obama and US deserve a lot of blame too.

    Erdogan is a dodo. He should be called Egogan.

    But he got reckless cuz the US sent signals that BIG CHANGES were afoot against Syria and Russia. The US would step up and take out Assad and Russia would be reduced by sanctions and pressure.

    Erdogan expected decisive US action to topple Assad and create new order in Middle East in which US, Turkey, and Saudis would come out on top at expense of Syria, Shia-run Iraq, and Iran.

    But US, though having given the go-ahead for its proxy nations to mess things up, failed to deliver and just left one bunch of Muslims fighting another bunch of Muslims. US pulled a Yojimbo on the Middle East. Obama took out Libya but just used Syria to suck everyone in and have them bash one another.

    Erdogan the dummy got used and abused. He’s not the brightest bulb in international politics.

    Also, given the sanctions by US and EU, Russia was supposed to have collapsed economically. Though hurt real bad, it hung on and even made the difference in Syria.

    So, Erdogan got into a huge jam. Syria will hate and distrust Turkey now forever. Russians will deal with Turkey but never in good faith. Turkey ruined relations with Iran by messing with Syria. And EU is pissed with Turkey for dumping all those ‘refugees’ on them.

    Erdy should have just minded his own business.

    Still, if the US hadn’t given the go-ahead, none of this craziness would have happened.

    Erdy thought the US had sent clear signals that Assad had to go. He was salivating over preying on that defeated country. But US left him in the lurch.

    Never trust the US.

    Read More
    • Agree: Randal
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  3. Randal says:

    Erdogan’s basic error, the one that gave rise to the later ones and that basically threw away all Turkey’s progress under his reign and all its prospects for further progress, was the opportunistic decision to attack Syria in 2011.

    Like many such decisions that are parodied as foolish later on, it was an understandable one at the time. Nobody seriously expected the Syrian government to survive in 2011, with the US effectively green-lighting a regime change operation against Syria by its regional allies and proxies, and Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Israel all actively seeking its overthrow. The US and its European satellite states almost all signalled that their propaganda organs would throw their own weight behind attacks on the Syrian government and effectively boost jihadist recruitment in their own countries by demonising said government. Erdogan was under pressure in Turkey from sunni groups aligned with the islamist rebels as well as Turkey-uber-alles nationalist and militarist types to “do something” for their fellows across the border, and he thought Turkey would come out of it with substantially increased influence in whatever followed the Assad government in Syria.

    In truth, from the perspective of 2011, the survival and now likely triumph of Syria’s government has been little short of miraculous, as well as a testament to the support it has had from its own allies Hezbollah, Iran and Russia to counterbalance the US sphere forces acting against it.

    But Erdogan was the man who took the decision, and he will bear the historical responsibility for the consequences for Turkey, deserved or not.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bill Jones
    What's remarkable is how Erdogan was lauded so long in the West and how quickly demonized.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  4. Casey says:

    Turkey is today reaping the dire consequences of Erdogan’s past policies which created crises from which he says he will emerge victorious. But this is not going to happen because, again thanks to Erdogan, the PKK and Isis can operate from foreign sanctuaries in Syria and Iraq.

    Or is Erdogan counting on the PKK or ISIS bombings as an excuse to reclaim Ottoman territory from Iraq and Syria?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  5. @Randal
    Erdogan's basic error, the one that gave rise to the later ones and that basically threw away all Turkey's progress under his reign and all its prospects for further progress, was the opportunistic decision to attack Syria in 2011.

    Like many such decisions that are parodied as foolish later on, it was an understandable one at the time. Nobody seriously expected the Syrian government to survive in 2011, with the US effectively green-lighting a regime change operation against Syria by its regional allies and proxies, and Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Israel all actively seeking its overthrow. The US and its European satellite states almost all signalled that their propaganda organs would throw their own weight behind attacks on the Syrian government and effectively boost jihadist recruitment in their own countries by demonising said government. Erdogan was under pressure in Turkey from sunni groups aligned with the islamist rebels as well as Turkey-uber-alles nationalist and militarist types to "do something" for their fellows across the border, and he thought Turkey would come out of it with substantially increased influence in whatever followed the Assad government in Syria.

    In truth, from the perspective of 2011, the survival and now likely triumph of Syria's government has been little short of miraculous, as well as a testament to the support it has had from its own allies Hezbollah, Iran and Russia to counterbalance the US sphere forces acting against it.

    But Erdogan was the man who took the decision, and he will bear the historical responsibility for the consequences for Turkey, deserved or not.

    What’s remarkable is how Erdogan was lauded so long in the West and how quickly demonized.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Randal
    I don't think he's the first to have that experience, but you are probably correct in suggesting that his was the most extreme case of it.

    I mean Saddam was actually overthrown and killed, but then again while he'd been strategically very useful and quietly cultivated before he became inconvenient, he wasn't nearly so much openly lauded. And although Gaddafi was widely praised before he was toppled and his murder chortled over by the US Secretary of State, especially when he very publicly bent the knee to the US sphere over "WMD", he was never really forgiven for past activities.
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  6. Anon says: • Disclaimer

    Anatoly Karlin interview on various topics.

    http://www.starktruthradio.com/?p=3325

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter Display All Comments
  7. Randal says:
    @Bill Jones
    What's remarkable is how Erdogan was lauded so long in the West and how quickly demonized.

    I don’t think he’s the first to have that experience, but you are probably correct in suggesting that his was the most extreme case of it.

    I mean Saddam was actually overthrown and killed, but then again while he’d been strategically very useful and quietly cultivated before he became inconvenient, he wasn’t nearly so much openly lauded. And although Gaddafi was widely praised before he was toppled and his murder chortled over by the US Secretary of State, especially when he very publicly bent the knee to the US sphere over “WMD”, he was never really forgiven for past activities.

    Read More
    • Replies: @E. A. Costa
    "And although Gaddafi was widely praised before he was toppled and his murder chortled over by the US Secretary of State, "

    Apparently Señora Clinton was scarce in the bard:

    "There was never
    any thing so sudden but the fight of two rams and Caesar's
    thrasonical brag of 'I came, saw, and overcame.' "

    Probably even scarcer in knowing what "thrasonical" means.

    But that was for public consumption. Do the Russians have the email or recording with:

    "We came, we conquered and he got a bayonet up the ass"?

    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
  8. @Randal
    I don't think he's the first to have that experience, but you are probably correct in suggesting that his was the most extreme case of it.

    I mean Saddam was actually overthrown and killed, but then again while he'd been strategically very useful and quietly cultivated before he became inconvenient, he wasn't nearly so much openly lauded. And although Gaddafi was widely praised before he was toppled and his murder chortled over by the US Secretary of State, especially when he very publicly bent the knee to the US sphere over "WMD", he was never really forgiven for past activities.

    “And although Gaddafi was widely praised before he was toppled and his murder chortled over by the US Secretary of State, ”

    Apparently Señora Clinton was scarce in the bard:

    “There was never
    any thing so sudden but the fight of two rams and Caesar’s
    thrasonical brag of ‘I came, saw, and overcame.’ ”

    Probably even scarcer in knowing what “thrasonical” means.

    But that was for public consumption. Do the Russians have the email or recording with:

    “We came, we conquered and he got a bayonet up the ass”?

    Read More
    ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
Current Commenter says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Patrick Cockburn Comments via RSS
Personal Classics
Full Story of the Taliban's Amazing Jailbreak
"They Can't Even Protect Themselves, So What Can They Do For Me?"
"All Hell is Breaking Loose with Muqtada" Warlord: the Rise of Muqtada al-Sadr