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“ISIS threatens our way of life and security…We have plans to act militarily against them in the coming days. You will see.”

— Turkish Foreign Minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu

A landslide victory in Turkey’s November 1 snap elections has removed the last obstacle in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s drive to war. The surprise outcome of the balloting, which was widely denounced as “unfair and marred by fear and violence by international election observers”, has given Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) 49 percent of the vote restoring single-party rule in Ankara. Shortly after the election results were announced, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu called on Turkey’s political parties to scrap the existing constitution in order to grant President Erdogan nearly-limitless executive authority.

According to Turkey’s Today’s Zaman Davutoglu said, “I’m calling on all parties entering parliament to form a new civilian national constitution…Let’s work together towards a Turkey where conflict, tension and polarisation are non-existent and everyone salutes each other in peace.”

In other words, the balloting is being used to sabotage democracy and establish the supreme power of the president. Less than 24 hours after Erdogan had regained single-party control of the government, he reiterated Davutoglu’s appeal for expanding presidential powers through a national referendum.

“An issue like the presidential system can’t be decided without the nation,” Erdogan told reporters at the press conference. “If the mechanism requires a referendum, then we will hold a referendum … The executive presidency is not a question of our president’s personal future. He has already entered the history books. The basic motivation is to make the system in Turkey as effective as possible.”

So, according to Erdogan, the dictatorial powers of the president have already been established and the referendum is merely a formality.

Clearly, Erdogan wants to use the referendum to consolidate his power, establish one-man rule and terminate representative government in Turkey. He is a committed Islamist who wants to repeal democracy and create a Islamic regime that extends beyond Turkey’s present borders into Iraq and Syria. This is why he has been such an enthusiastic supporter of the jihadi groups fighting in Syria.

More important, Erdogan intends to use his landslide victory to persuade the Military High Command that he has a popular mandate for his foreign policy, a policy that has amassed thousands of Turkish troops, armored vehicles and tanks on the Syrian border for a possible invasion. Up to now, the military has resisted Erdogan on this matter, but now that Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel, has been replaced as head of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) by the more compliant General Hulusi Akar, the plan to invade Syria and secure a so called “safety zone” along the Syrian side of the Turkish border, becomes much more probable.

The plan to annex sovereign Syrian territory and use it to launch attacks on the government of Syrian President Bashar al Assad dates back to 2012. In 2015, however, the strategy was expanded upon by Brookings analyst Michael E. O’Hanlon in a piece titled “Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war”. Here’s an excerpt:

“…the only realistic path forward may be a plan that in effect deconstructs Syria….the international community should work to create pockets with more viable security and governance within Syria over time… The idea would be to help moderate elements establish reliable safe zones within Syria once they were able. American, as well as Saudi and Turkish and British and Jordanian and other Arab forces would act in support, not only from the air but eventually on the ground via special forces. … Western forces themselves would remain in more secure positions in general—within the safe zones but back from the front lines—at least until the reliability of such defenses, and also local allied forces, made it practical to deploy and live in more forward locations.

Creation of these sanctuaries would produce autonomous zones that would never again have to face the prospect of rule by either Assad ….The interim goal might be a confederal Syria, with several highly autonomous zones… The confederation would likely require support from an international peacekeeping force….to make these zones defensible and governable,….and to train and equip more recruits so that the zones could be stabilized and then gradually expanded.” (Deconstructing Syria: A new strategy for America’s most hopeless war, Michael E. O’Hanlon, Brookings Institute)

This is the Obama administration’s basic blueprint for toppling Assad and reducing Syria into an ungovernable failed state run by regional warlords, renegade militias and Islamic extremists. US Secretary of State John Kerry confirmed our worst suspicions about this sinister plan in a speech he delivered
to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace just last week. Here’s part of what he said:

“In northern Syria, the coalition and its partners have pushed Daesh (ISIS) out of more than 17,000 square kilometers of territory, and we have secured the Turkish-Syrian border east of the Euphrates River. That’s about 85 percent of the Turkish border, and the President is authorizing further activities to secure the rest…….

We’re also enhancing our air campaign in order to help drive Daesh, which once dominated the Syria-Turkey border, out of the last 70-mile stretch that it controls.” (U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on the Future of U.S. Policy in the Middle East, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

Repeat: “That’s about 85 percent of the Turkish border, and the President is authorizing further activities to secure the rest.”

Why has Obama “authorized further activities to secure the rest”?

Because no one in Washington believes that the US-backed jihadis will beat the combined forces of the Russian-led coalition which is gradually annihilating the terrorist militias across Syria. So now, Obama is moving on to Plan B, the creation of a terrorist sanctuary on the Syrian side of the Syrian-Turkish border where the US and its partners can continue to arm, train and deploy their jihadi maniacs back into Syria whenever they choose to do so. Undoubtedly, Obama’s Special Forces will be used to oversee this operation and to make sure that everything goes according to plan.

There is, of course, a question about the Kurdish militias role in this strategy. Recently, the US has air-dropped pallet-loads of weapons and ammo to the Democratic Union Party (PYD) hoping the group could help the US secure the last stretch of land along the border west of the Euphrates thus keeping vital supplylines open for the jihadis while establishing a safe haven on Syrian territory. Erdogan violently opposes any operation that will create a contiguous Kurdish state on the Syrian side of the border.

So how will this situation be resolved? Will Obama stick with the Kurds or realign with Erdogan in exchange for Turkish boots on the ground?

No one knows just yet, but certainly a Turkish-US alliance would be more formidable than a PYD-US coalition. Judging by Washington’s long history of choosing the most expedient solution to achieve its policy goals, we expect Obama to align himself with Ankara.

It’s worth noting that the Turkish parliament already “approved a possible deployment of Turkish ground forces in Syria and opened the door to basing foreign troops in Turkey” back in October 2014. Using the pretext of “fighting terrorism” as an excuse for invasion, Erdogan said, “We are open and ready for any kind of cooperation…However, Turkey is not a country that will allow itself to be used for temporary solutions… The immediate removal of the administration in Damascus, Syria’s territorial unity and the installation of an administration which embraces all will continue to be our priority.”

In other words, Erdogan will not provide ground troops unless the US says it is committed to regime change.

Erdogan has been the strongest proponent of “safe zones”, an idea that would require US warplanes to patrol the skies over Northern Syria with small groups of US troops on the ground. The plan greatly increases the probability of an unexpected clash with Russian warplanes that could lead to a direct confrontation between the two nuclear-armed adversaries.

Now check out this article that appeared in the UK Telegraph in June 2015, that was clearly premature in its prediction. The piece is titled “Turkey ‘planning to invade Syria’”:

“President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has authorised a change in the rules of engagement agreed by the Turkish parliament to allow the army to strike at Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), as well as the Assad regime, according to local newspapers. The aim is to establish a buffer zone for refugees and against Isil…

Turkey has urged the creation of a buffer zone protected by international forces in the north of Syria ever since the civil war sent hundreds of thousands of refugees across the border…

Turkish media were briefed on new orders being given to the military to prepare to send an 18,000-strong force across the border…The troops would seize a stretch of territory 60 miles long by 20 deep, including the border crossings of Jarablus, currently in Isil hands, and Aazaz, currently controlled by the Free Syrian Army (FSA)…(Turkey ‘planning to invade Syria, Telegraph)

Readers will notice the striking similarity between Erdogan’s plan and the Brookings strategy. Washington and Ankara seem to share the same view of how Syria should be carved up following the prospective invasion. That said, it would be surprising if Erdogan and Obama are not able to iron-out their differences and settle on a way to achieve their common objective.

Erdogan has put considerable effort into removing the obstacles preventing him from launching an invasion on Syria. He’s gotten the greenlight from Parliament to deploy the army if he feels there is a threat to Turkey’s national security. He’s effectively “internationalized” the conflict by allowing the US, UK and French warplanes to fly out of Incirlik. (which will absolve Erdogan and his minions from future legal accountability or war crimes.) And, finally, the elections provided Erdogan with the mandate he needed to convince the military that his foreign policy has the full-backing of the Turkish people. So now that he has his ducks in a row, the only question is whether he will actually launch the invasion or not?

On Wednesday, Turkish foreign minister Feridun Sinirlioğlu confirmed that Erdogan is planning to invade Syria under the pretext of “fighting terrorism”. Here’s an excerpt from an article in the Daily Sabah:

“Turkey has plans to launch a military operation against ISIS in the near future, the Turkish foreign minister said on Wednesday. Feridun Sinirlioğlu was at a conference on the future of Middle East, held in Erbil in northern Iraq’s Kurdish region.

“Daesh [ISIS] threatens our way of life and security. […] We have plans to act militarily against them in the coming days. You will see. We should all stand together against this danger,” he said…

“We will continue our efforts to eliminate all terrorist organizations. We will act in a responsible manner so that the Kurdish region and Iraq can be successful in the fight against terror. This is a very clear message to Iraq and the Kurdish region for a bright future,” he said.” (Turkey in plans to launch military operation against ISIS, foreign minister says, Daily Sabah)

Naturally, none of this has anything to do with fighting terrorism, in fact, Erdogan has been the terrorists best friend allowing them to pass back and forth across the border unimpeded. What Sinirlioğlu’s announcement means is that Turkey is finally ready to seize the 60 mile stretch of land referred to in the Telegraph article. As of this writing, we don’t know what the White House’s reaction to this Sinirlioğlu’s announcement will be, but we do know that Obama is scheduled to meet with Erdogan in Ankara in less than two weeks. By then, the administration will have decided whether they will stick with the Kurds or cast their lot with Erdogan. Either way, there’s going to be an attempt to create a safe zone from which Washington can continue to prosecute its war on Assad. That much is certain.

These developments suggest that Putin will have to move fast if he wants to seal the border and derail Erdogan’s plan. The Russian president might have to deploy Russian Special Forces and armored divisions northward to discourage US-Turkey adventurism and to prevent the war from turning into a quagmire.

This is one situation where preemption could really pay off bigtime.

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at [email protected].

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Erdogan, Syria, Turkey 
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  1. Putin could change everything by learning three words of English: “Obama’s Illegal War.”

    Say it everywhere he goes, “Obama’s Illegal War.” Hold a press conference, walk up to the podium, say “Obama’s Illegal War,” then turn around and leave. Repeat it over and over. It would quickly become a meme. And by making it a meme, that vast collection of easily distracted, brainwashed simpletons that we call Americans might finally notice Obama’s Illegal War.

  2. Tom_R says:

    JEWISH PLAN FOR WORLD CONQUEST–EUROPE TO BE UNIFIED UNDER JEWISH CONTROL AS EU; OTHERS TO BE BROKEN UP INTO “AUTONOMOUS” REGIONS.

    Jew-S-A allowed Turkey to join NATO so they can use it to expand in the Middle East to protect their master, Israel. They want to steal land from Syria to use as a greater Israel and Assad is in the way, so they want to get rid of him.

    They want to break up a small country like Syria so they can attack and steal it using the divide and conquer strategy.

    It is amazing the Judaists, when they wanted to bring the whole of Jew-rope under their control, promoted “unity” in forming Jew-U; but when they want to destroy their opponents, they promote “diversity” such as in USA and and “autonomous regions” in Syria.

    Ergodan probably stole the election too. I agree with you that Russia must now be twice as aggressive and impose a no fly zone over Syria and fill it with anti-aircraft missiles and shoot down any NATO thugs trying to fly over Syria. And involving the Chinese, the Iranians and the Hezbollah and the Kurds would also be a good plan.

    The problem is that with Palestine and Jew-S-A and Jew-rope conquered, the Judaists have been intoxicated with power and have gone on a rampage and their aggression must be checked.

    • Replies: @Junior
  3. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Russia needs to start funneling some serious weapons to the Kurds opposing that POS madman Erdogan. And they need to start funneling serious weapons to the Houthis in Yemen fighting the world’s largest terrorist supporter, Saudi Arabia. Turnabout is fair play, bitches. Russian also needs to seriously consider setting up a nuclear option in its Syrian base of operations to preclude the Mohammedans (Turks and Gulfie sand monkeys) from getting the hope they can turn Syria into an Islamist hellhole.

    I wonder what kind of American male could feel good about himself as a special forces soldier working/fighting to Islamize Syria? To work at turning a secular Western-style culture into a 8th-century Mohammedan hellhole? While your own country is becoming third-world and you do nothing to defend the America you grew up in. Psychopathic compartmentalization is a hell of the thing, eh?

  4. Junior [AKA "Jr."] says:

    Mr. Whitney, you keep on ignoring the CFR and only focusing on what O’Hanlon and the Brookings Institute has to say. Both the CFR and Brookings are fingers of the SAME Elite hand. The CFR being the middle finger of the Elite hand flipping us the proverbial “F you, peasants” bird, and Brookings being the “pinkie” finger because it’s pink from being half-filled with red-communists.

    No doubt that Brookings is a part of the puzzle but the CFR puts the whole puzzle together in their articles and videos. And what the CFR is all but screaming is that this is ALL about the formation of Kurdistan. Quite frankly, your ignoring of the CFR and your minimizing of the role of the Kurds makes me question whether you have an agenda of shifting the focus from the CFR or just don’t realize how influential the CFR is and also just how serious they are about forming Kurdistan. Ever since Russia stepped in, it has become a mad frenzy to get leverage for where the partition borders are going to be.

    Repeat: “That’s about 85 percent of the Turkish border, and the President is authorizing further activities to secure the rest.”

    Why has Obama “authorized further activities to secure the rest”?

    Because no one in Washington believes that the US-backed jihadis will beat the combined forces of the Russian-led coalition which is gradually annihilating the terrorist militias across Syria. So now, Obama is moving on to Plan B, the creation of a terrorist sanctuary on the Syrian side of the Syrian-Turkish border where the US and its partners can continue to arm, train and deploy their jihadi maniacs back into Syria whenever they choose to do so. Undoubtedly, Obama’s Special Forces will be used to oversee this operation and to make sure that everything goes according to plan.

    Yes, “that’s about 85% of the Turkish border” that has been secured by the Kurds. And what would the securing of the rest of the 15% mean? It means that Kurdistan will have access to a Mediterranean Sea port because otherwise it is useless to the multi-national corporations.

    They have moved beyond Plan B because of Russia and are now on to Plan C, which is getting Kurdistan access to a port on the Mediterranean. The CFR and assorted cronies have already destroyed all the other governments and boundaries in the region and Turkey is the last obstacle to their partition plans. Obama’s Special Forces are making sure that the Kurds are ready for Turkey. THAT is what Kerry is talking about when he says that Obama has “authorized further activities to secure the rest.” And THAT is what Turkey is preparing for and why they have been bombing Kurdish positions, and why they have NOT been bombing ISIS positions. Turkey IS and HAS BEEN going to offensive war with Kurds, and MAYBE defensive war with ISIS. At this point, Turkey is not bombing ISIS in the hopes that ISIS will keep the Kurds engaged but they also MAY want to keep ISIS out of Turkey. It all depends on how complicit Erdogan is in this whole mess that is about to explode. If Turkey goes into Syria, it has nothing to do with Assad. If Turkey goes in to Syria, it’s to stop the Kurds from reaching the Mediterranean.

    The Elite’s aim is the formation of Kurdistan which will be MUCH more open to making deals with the US oil interests in exchange for the US helping to give them their independence. The only question is whether it will be a part of Turkey, like Scotland is to England, or if it will be completely independent. I think that it will be the latter. I think that Turkey is about to erupt in civil war led by the Kurds all along the border of Turkey. I think that the most probable way that this civil war would start is by returning ISIS fighters, armed and financed by the US-Israel-Saudis, attacking Turkish-Kurds in Turkey which would give Erdogan the cover of not having started the war. This would give the Kurds of Syria and Iraq, also armed by the US, along the border a reason to go into Turkey to protect their kinsman. The 50 US troops that Obama sent to Syria are there training the Kurds, and it is NOT to fight Assad or ISIS. The Kurds are being armed and trained for an eventual fight with Turkey.

    Obama’s plan that Kerry is talking about is a plan to give Kurdistan access to the Mediterranean Sea. Kurdistan is landlocked and that will NOT be allowed to be the case. Once the Kurds have access to a port for shipping oil the next step is getting a part of Turkey. If Turkey keeps this access to a port from happening then there may not be a partitioning of Turkey. There may instead be annexation of Kurdish lands with Turkey controlling Kurdistan and sharing of oil profits but with Kurds being given self-governance over a Turkish-Kurdistan. It ALL hinges on port access. If Turkey stops Kurdish port access it grows, if it doesn’t then it is broken apart with civil war. Of course it could be that civil war will be used to allow the Kurds this access to ports. And I also don’t see any way that Erdogan CAN get Turkish people to accept Kurdistan being formed UNLESS there is civil war and they choose allowing Kurdistan to be formed and annexed INSTEAD of war.

    Kurdistan is going to be formed no matter what, as the below CFR video shows with their claims of “The Time of the Kurds” is NOW. An independent Kurdistan can only happen if they have access to a port. The US wants to cut out the middle man with a port, Turkey, and only deal with an independent Kurdistan with whom they’ll get better oil deals because Kurdistan will owe it’s independence to the US. Turkey wants to remain in the equation of getting a slice of the oil-pie and the only way that will happen is if they annex Kurdistan and give it self-governance. But an annexation by Turkey will only be allowed by the US if Turkey agrees to the same terms that an independent Kurdistan would give the US otherwise Turkey will be broken apart. And even IF Turkey agrees to horrible terms of an agreement, they STILL might be broken up for easier control of the region. And the only way, as I see it, Erdogan or the US gets the Turkish people to accept Kurdistan, whether annexed or independent, being formed is civil war… aka trouble is a brewin’.

    The CFR’s MAIN concern is the formation of Kurdistan. But it’s NOT because they care about the Kurdish people as they claim in the CFR propaganda video below and which history has proven to be false, over and over again. What they DO care about is the oil in Kurdistan AND a port to access that oil. For the CFR, it’s all about better deals for greedy corporations. The plan is partition. The CFR and the group of usual suspects are going to make SURE that Kurdistan happens.

  5. Junior [AKA "Jr."] says:
    @Tom_R

    and their aggression must be checked.

    And your head must be checked because you’re looney as a tune with your never-ending anti-semitic babble.

  6. Corvinus says:

    “And by making it a meme, that vast collection of easily distracted, brainwashed simpletons that we call Americans might finally notice Obama’s Illegal War.”

    Praytell, what makes separate from that “vast collection”?

    Tom_R (R=Rational), well, you certainly are in contention “for the da Joos” are to blame meme of the year award, although it wouldn’t surprise me if your sock puppet is The Priss Factory.

    Good stuff, JR! Astute analysis.

  7. Mr. Whitney’s article is mostly assertions without their supporting evidence, if there is any. Why should we suppose he knows what he is talking about?

  8. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a capable leader . Muslims should be thankful for the victory of the AKP under Erdogan in the latest Turkish General Eleçtion . AKP fights for the oppressed . The establishment of the ‘ safe zone’ 30 km into Syrian territory from the Turkish border is a real gain and protection for the Syrian Civil War refugees to seek safety and shelther . Its a real humanitarian help for the refugees to live under . The food supply can enter from a very short distance from Turkey . Hospitals can be established and the medical equipment and medicine can be brought from the Turkish in a very short of time . No Russian or Assad jet-bomber can blew up the wide array of fasilities made for the protection of the war refugees .

    • Replies: @Avery
    , @Kiza
  9. Avery says:
    @Anonymous

    Neo-Ottoman Turk Sultan Erdogan, descendant of nomadic Turkic tribes from Uyguristan, is an IslamoFascist thug.
    A mass murderer, who organized 2 terrorist bombings by ISIS, which murdered about 200 young Kurds who were having a peace-rally.

    {The establishment of the ‘ safe zone’ 30 km into Syrian territory from the Turkish border is a real gain and protection for the Syrian Civil War refugees to seek safety and shelther .}

    Genocidal nomad Turks have stolen and gobbled up about 1 million square kilometers of the lands that belong to others.
    The so-called “safe zone” is another means to steal more Syrian land.
    You want a “safe zone” ?: create a “fake zone” in your own IslamoFascist country. And make sure you invite ISIS throat-cutters and cannibals into your own home for dinner: have fun.

  10. Kiza says:
    @Anonymous

    How about Russia establishing a 30km protection zone inside Turkey, to protect Kurdish refugees from the crimes of Erdogan? Its a real humanitarian help for the refugees to live under. The food supply can enter from a very short distance from Russia. Hospitals can be established and the medical equipment and medicine can be brought from Russia in a very short of time. No Turkish or US jet-bomber can blow up the wide array of facilities made for the protection of the war refugees.

    Had to correct your dumb ideas an your horrible spelling, there you have it now. Might makes right, right? And your side is always right. Hey, the US and Israel are on your side, how could you be wrong?

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