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Now the Turks Are All In
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All through the Cold War, the Turks were among America’s most reliable allies.

After World War II, when Stalin encroached upon Turkey and Greece, Harry Truman came to the rescue. Turkey reciprocated by sending thousands of troops to fight alongside our GIs in Korea.

Turkey joined NATO and let the U.S. station Jupiter missiles in their country. When JFK secretly traded away the Jupiters for removal of the Soviet missiles in Cuba, the Turks went along.

Early this century, under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey seemed to be emerging as a major power, a land bridge between Europe and the Islamic world, a friend to its neighbors, and future member of the EU.

But, recently, a U.S. diplomat blurted, “The Turks are out of their lane!”

And that describes the situation succinctly and well.

When rebels rose up to overthrow Bashar Assad in Syria, and Assad elected to fight not quit, Erdogan turned on him and began to permit jihadists to enter Syria.

When ISIS terrorists seized Raqqa in Syria, and Mosul and Anbar in Iraq, Erdogan refused to let U.S. planes based at Incirlik bomb them.

When America supported Syrian Kurds with air power, enabling them to hold off an ISIS attack on Kobani on the Syria-Turkish border, Erdogan denounced the Kurds as the greater threat.

But 10 days ago came an ISIS atrocity in Suruc, Turkey, just north of Kobani. Thirty-two young Turkish Kurds who were planning to help rebuild Kobani were massacred, and a hundred wounded.

Instantly, Erdogan permitted U.S. planes at Incirlik to attack ISIS targets in Syria and launched air strikes himself. It appeared that, at long last, the U.S. and Turkey were again on the same page, seeing ISIS as the primary enemy, and acting jointly against it.

But the Turkish attacks on ISIS proved to be pinpricks. And the Turks began a major air assault on Kurdish forces in exile in Iraq, the PKK, who had fled Turkey after the recent civil war.

Where does this leave Turkey today?

Erdogan demands that Assad be overthrown. He has declared war on ISIS. He has broken off peace talks with the PKK in Turkey. He is attacking the exiled Kurds in the mountains of Iraq, enraging Baghdad, and his own Kurdish minority of 14 million.

He has been vilifying his former Israeli friends since the Mavi Marmara incident, where eight Turkish aid workers on a relief ship headed for Gaza were killed by Israeli commandos in 2010.

The Washington Times reports that Egypt is charging Turkey with sending agents to work with Islamic State on the Sinai Peninsula, which has been killing Egyptian soldiers and firing rockets into Israel.

There has been bad blood between Cairo and Ankara since Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, a former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, was overthrown by the army of Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi in 2013. Gen. el-Sissi is now President el-Sissi and President Morsi is now on death row.

What is Erdogan up to? With his attacks on the Kurds and ISIS both, he is inviting blowback in the form of terrorist reprisals from ISIS and the PKK inside his own country, as happened at Suruc.

The speculation is that Erdogan is going to war for political reasons. When a Kurdish Party captured 13 percent of the vote in the June 7 elections, it broke Erdogan’s parliamentary majority, blocking his path to the presidential republic of his dreams and designs.

Critics believe he is provoking conflict with the Kurds before new elections, so he can cast himself as a fearless warrior against Arab terrorists and Kurdish traitors, discredit the small Kurdish party, and capture a sufficient majority to create his all-powerful presidency.

Turkey’s actions demonstrate, as do those of other allies in the region, that their enemies are not always our enemies, and that, as they single-mindedly pursue their national goals, so should we.

The Iraqi Kurds have been friends of the United States since Desert Storm. The Syrian Kurds, the YPG, have provided fighting troops whom we have supported with air power against ISIS. Both are de facto allies, no matter what the Turks say.

As for the PKK, we may have designated them a terrorist organization at the urging of the Turks, but if they are not attacking us, we ought not to be attacking them.

We must stop allowing our friends to choose our enemies in the Middle East. We are fully capable of doing that ourselves, without their assistance.

All our allies in that most war-torn of regions would like us to come fight their battles for them. We should let them fight their wars themselves, for the prospect of peace any time soon in that blood-soaked region is more than remote.

Our enemies are al-Qaida, which slaughtered 3,000 of our people, and its progeny. Our enemies are ISIS, which has beheaded Americans, and threatens us, our allies and friends.

Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book “The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority.”

Copyright 2015

• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: ISIS, Kurds, Syria, Turkey 
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  1. Realist says:

    “The speculation is that Erdogan is going to war for political reasons.”

    When is that not the case with any country?

  2. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    “It appeared that, at long last, the U.S. and Turkey were again on the same page, seeing ISIS as the primary enemy”

    US see ISIS as primary enemy?

    US needs Turkish permission to use air power against ISIS?

  3. Priss Factor [AKA "The Priss Factory"] says:

    “We must stop allowing our friends to choose our enemies in the Middle East. We are fully capable of doing that ourselves, without their assistance.”

    We? Since when do WE get to choose?

    It’s always the Tribe.

    • Replies: @Realist
  4. bjondo says:

    the 32 turkish kurds probably sacrificed by the erdogan regime.
    wanna get isis? arrest them as they walk around in turkey and jordan waiting to be armed, trained, fed, paid.

    the u.s. and turkey are full of it.

    this is war against syria (hezbullah and iran) for israel using whatever lie to fool fools.

    • Agree: Bill Jones
  5. Chaos is necessary to maintain the illusion of these extremists being anything other than an irregular imperial army. It is nothing new that angloamerica loses on purpose piecemeal for partial advantages. In particular the British have done it more than once during the world wars. Deliberately with a distinct purpose.
    In order to fool people there is real need for war in the ME at all you have to move a little back an forth. Oh yeah, now they are fighting the IS but … Not now oh they hardly touched’em…but look now they seemed to kill some.. Or not…
    It isnt known whether it was the IS independently deciding to attack Turkey. Its more like IS is a general resource to be thrown in wherever the other powers need it. So like some believe it may well have been Erdogan who arranged a false flag as it were using the universal boogie army. The particulate substance for eventually grinding down China…
    – Meanwhile perpetual war prevents nation building and leaves natural resources easier to grab.

  6. MarkinLA says:

    The Iraqi Kurds have been friends of the United States since Desert Storm.

    What fools don’t they know our AIPAC controlled government doesn’t have any interests outside of Israel?

  7. Pacific says:

    This area will belong to One of two people in the End!!

    Turks or Israels.

    one is a

    possibility the other a Joke!

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  8. Hrw-500 says:

    A bit off-topic but I spotted this article from Zero Hedge wondering is Turkey on the path to restaure the Ottoman empire?

  9. Art says:

    Once again Pat leaves out the dirty hand played by Zionist Israel – Shame!

  10. pyrrhus says:

    As pointed out by the comments so far, Pat is unfortunately very wide of the mark on this one. The US can’t figure out who it likes or dislikes, but refuses to back Assad, who is relatively moderate and protects Christians. I suggest we stop wasting our blood and money on the middle east, since our only purpose seems to be supporting the Pentagon contractor complex with endless, pointless, and very expensive wars…..

    • Replies: @Pacific
  11. Pacific says:

    Saddam was no different to Assad and the USA pulled his string.

  12. Since it appears that the Turkey is all in, the only thing we need to agree upon is which tempreture we gotta set up on the timer, yes? o-O

  13. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    The Iranians might have something to say about that, but yeah. The only other power in the region the Saudis are a joke, ever wonder why the Saudis can spend so much on military hardware yet the Israelis say nothing?

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