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World View: In Major Reversal, Turkey Will Let US Use Incirlik to Fight ISIS in Syria

This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Turkey’s politics become vitriolic after Suruç massacre
  • In major reversal, Turkey will let US use Incirlik to fight ISIS in Syria
  • Turkish soldier killed by ISIS in first gunfight across Syrian border

Turkey’s politics become vitriolic after Suruç massacre

Erdogan with his son Bilal and daughter Sümeyye (Reuters file)
Erdogan with his son Bilal and daughter Sümeyye (Reuters file)

In the fallout of Monday’s terrorist attack on Suruç by the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), Turkey’s politics are becoming increasingly vitriolic.

Kurds are blaming President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for either supporting ISIS, or at least for not doing anything to stop them. As we wrote yesterday in Syria’s war comes to Turkey after Monday’s terror attack on Suruç, there is no credible evidence that Erdogan has been supporting ISIS, but before ISIS came into existence, he may have been providing weapons to anti-Assad forces that later became part of ISIS.

Turkey’s politics have never been pleasant, but the Suruç massacre appears to have created a split between the Kurds and pro-Erdogan activists that is even more vitriolic than before.

A mainstream Turkish newspaper fired well-known newspaper columnist Kadri Gürsel on Thursday, because he sent a tweet that criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The tweet said:

It is shameful that foreign leaders call the person who is the number one culprit of ISIL terrorism in Turkey and convey their condolences over the Suruç bombing.

Gürsel is referring to Erdogan as the “number one culprit,” and the foreign leaders are Barack Obama and other leaders who called Erdogan to convey their condolences over Monday’s terrorist attack on Suruç by the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh).

It is believed by some that Gürsel was fired under orders from Erdogan, as the newspaper is headed by a close Erdogan associate. Erdogan has been infuriated by journalists who have criticized him, and he has allegedly ordered the firing of many of them.

A recently published report has claimed that Erdogan’s daughter Sümeyye Erdogan has been linked to ISIS, and is currently running a ‘covert’ hospital exclusively to treat wounded ISIS terrorists. Erdogan issued a statement that did not directly address the specific charges, but said:

Every day, a new one is being added to ‘perception management’ operations aimed at harming our country’s image by creating an impression of a relation between Turkey and the terrorist organization, Daesh.

Groundless claims that try to show our President Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan, his son Bilal Erdogan and his daughter Sümeyye Erdogan in relation with Daesh, which have been immorally released in the recent days, are part of a smear campaign conducted against Turkey and are all lies.

With many Kurds, after the Suruç massacre, blaming Erdogan for the supporting ISIS terrorists, Erdogan struck back on Thursday. He accused leaders of the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) of supporting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terrorists who killed two policemen in southeastern Turkey earlier in the week. In a statement, Erdogan said:

“It’s disgraceful for circles – who have openly expressed that they rely on the terror organization – to not be able to show courage to condemn and instead remain silent on the PKK’s brutal terror acts.”

The HDP leadership expressed its regret over the shooting, but did not condemn the PKK. Today’s Zaman (Istanbul) and Hurriyet (Ankara) and International Business Times

In major reversal, Turkey will let US use Incirlik to fight ISIS in Syria

In the fallout of Monday’s terrorist attack on Suruç by the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS or ISIL or Daesh), Turkey has made a major reversal, and will allow American warplanes to launch attacks against ISIS in Syria from Incirlik Air Base.

It is believed that ISIS was behind the suicide bombing in Suruç, targeting a large meeting of mostly young pro-Kurdish activists who were discussing plans to help rebuild the town of Kobani, which the Kurds had captured from ISIS in January. There were 32 dead and more than 100 others injured.

Turkey is a member of Nato, and Incirlik Air Base is a joint U.S.- Turkish installation that houses the U.S. Air Force’s 39th Air Base Wing. However, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has in the past refused to permit American warplanes take off from Incirlik to fight ISIS for two reasons:

  • Erdogan did not want to get militarily involved in the war in Syria. But after the attack on Suruç, the war in Syria is coming to Turkey whether Erdogan likes it or not.
  • Erdogan’s first priority has been regime change, removing Syria’s genocidal president Bashar al-Assad, while the US has made that a less important objective than fighting ISIS, and it may not be a US objective at all in view of the nuclear agreement with Iran. However, in the latest negotiations to get clearance to use Incirlik, it is possible that the US made some concessions to Turkey, and one of those concessions might have been a change of strategy with respect to al-Assad. However, no such change has been announced.

US warplanes fighting ISIS currently have to leave from Iraq or Jordan or other Arab nations. Using Incirlik would allow US warplanes to move more quickly and efficiently.

In a potentially major strategic change in the fight against ISIS in Syria, Turkey and the US will set up a 90 km no-fly zone, 40-50 km deep into Syria’s territory. The no-fly zone will prevent ISIS or the al-Qaeda linked Jabhat al-Nusra (al-Nusra Front) from gaining territory in the region.

Warplanes from the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria will not be permitted within the no-fly zone, and those which violate this will be targeted. AP and Washington Post and Hurriyet (Ankara)

Turkish soldier killed by ISIS in first gunfight across Syrian border

For the first time, there was a gunfight between Turkish soldiers and ISIS militants across the border between Turkey and Syria. Five ISIS militants approached the border and fired on Turkish soldiers. Turkey returned fire, and also used artillery to fire at suspected ISIS positions. CNN

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Kurds, Suruç, Islamic State / of Iraq and Syria/Sham/the Levant, IS, ISIS, ISIL, Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra, al-Nusra Front, Bilal Erdogan, Sümeyye Erdogan, Incirlik Air Base, U.S. Air Force’s 39th Air Base Wing, Syria, Kobani, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK, Kadri Gürsel, People’s Democratic Party, HDP, Syria, Bashar al-Assad
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