Turkey Steps Up

“Turkish planes have for the first time carried out air strikes against Islamic State (IS) group targets in Syria.Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the air strikes, on three IS positions, “completely destroyed” their targets.On Thursday, Turkish forces exchanged fire with IS fighters near the Syrian border. One Turkish soldier was killed.In the early hours of Friday, police launched raids against IS and Kurdish militants across the country, arresting 297 people.In Istanbul, more than 5,000 officers helped search 140 properties.”
See Turkey bombs Islamic State targets in Syria
The major dark spot on the 21st century so far has been the rise in violence in the Middle East and offshoots in Africa. The world just doesn’t need more violence. There comes a time when violence is the only answer or at least the first move towards a solution: when some bully commits crimes against humanity to gain power. That’s happening in many places in the world but the magnitude and proximity to Europe of the stuff happening in Syria, Iraq, Yemen… means it cannot be ignored. Still, folks are tired of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq which were largely pointless. They’ve held back, even Turkey with a long border with Syria.

Today, Turkey has stepped up. Seeing that the conflicting political/religious/historical entanglements are out-weighed by the imminent catastrophe, Turkey took steps to deal with everything, all at once. They have attacked violent factions within Turkey and have raided ISIL’s strong points in a Syrian town on the border. It remains to be seen whether this is just a message from Turkey about its limits of tolerance or the beginning of a proper campaign to smack ISIL, Assad, anyone posing a threat to humanity in the region. I think it could be the beginning of a campaign because Turkey has also allowed a Turkish base to be used by USA to attack ISIL in Syria. This puts Raqqa much closer to constant harassment by USAian bombers. Warthogs could essentially put a curfew on Raqqa within days.

I’m still troubled by Turkey’s relationship with the Kurds who have fought honourably in Iraq and Syria while everyone else, including Iraq, fled or ignored the problem. The Kurds need help. Turkey could provide that and earn a proper relationship with the Kurds. The Kurds could, in return, respect Turkey’s position on territory and seek peaceful negotiations rather than endless confrontation. It’s in no one’s interest to have perpetual war. ISIL needs to be granted their death-wish so the rest of us can move on. The Kurds and Turks have more in common than history. They both value humanity. ISIL does not. Assad does not. Iran should not be allowed to fill a power-vacuum with its own brand of inhumanity. If the world steps up as Turkey has done, Iran will get the message. Iran may have some crazies but Iran is not crazy. If Assad and ISIL are pounded into the ground, Iran will be no problem. They won’t want to be the only nail sticking up.

Once Syria and Iraq stabilize on human terms, the world can once again turn to the ancient problems in Palestine, the only real issue remaining. It’s gone on far too long and serves no purpose to continue. Israel/USA/Palestine must be properly resolved rather than allowed to be in an indefinite state of war. When the dust settles in the Middle East, there will be a bright future for the region, but people have to step up to make it happen. ISIL, Assad, and Iran don’t have the answer. The world has to come up with a proper consensus and the sooner the better.

PS:See also, Turkey vows to continue campaign against Islamic State militants

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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4 Responses to Turkey Steps Up

  1. Aldi wrote, “the sentence “They both value humanity” does not hold anymore for the Turkish government, at least.”

    I know what you mean but politics warps things. Turkey aspires to be European (recognizing human rights and fighting for them) but for now is unwilling to unravel history or to choose the right path going forward. The Turks certainly have more in common with the Kurds than Assad or ISIL, both of which mercilessly slaughter civilians wholesale. Part of the problem is that USA/Turkey/etc. label anyone objecting to the status quo as “terrorists” with a broad brush and responding with “kill ’em all – let God sort them out” rather than addressing the underlying issues. Apparently both ISIL and Assad should be treated as enemies of humanity and the Kurds as friends. There’s no need for God to sort out that lot. Just count the bodies of civilian men, women and children. My own government should be supplying/training the Kurds to deal with ISIL and hold some territory in Iraq and Syria safe for humanity. The Turks should see it is the right thing to do to support that rather than to seek Kurds as enemies but it’s not happening yet. Both USA and Turkey seem to want to stay above the fray by bombing rather than doing what needs to be done on the ground. That’s a terrible mistake. Proper armies, with air support, would not have much trouble rolling up ISIL and pushing Assad into a corner within weeks, saving many thousands more lives and sooner reintroducing civilization into those parts. Apparently Obama prefers to make big mistakes rather than figuring out the details. The folks on the ground can fix this but they need air support, not platitudes. You can’t support someone you don’t trust from the air.

  2. Aldi says:

    Thanks for your article. What you miss, though, is that the sentence “They both value humanity” does not hold anymore for the Turkish government, at least. The Turkish gov started undermining human rights and civil rights for over 2 years now. It started with the aggressive fight of the state against the Gezi protests and now it is opportune for Erdogan to fight the Kurds for his own increase of power. The Turkish police and military act beyond the limits of a constitutional state and Erdogan’s violent/aggressive fight against judiciary and media continues. The Turkish government has been supporting ISIL (way more than just tolerating) and they will continue, because their ideology is not too far from ISIL. Erdogan’s dream is a presidential system aka Putin and the construction of a new Osman empire based on strict and extremist (sunnite) Islam. In other words, if US, NATO, Canada, Europe still trusts this leader, this is a mistake.

  3. ram wrote, “Looks like Turkey fired up their civil war with the Kurds again. Big mistake!”

    It’s always an issue when some ancient territorial clan spans some arbitrary line on a map… Both the Turks and the Kurds need to think in terms of progress rather than winning ancient territorial games. The issues in Syria, Turkey and Iraq wrt Kurds have some common elements. Besides being a stupid waste of resources, the Turks are sabotaging the alliance of the Kurds in Iraq with USA/Europe to wallop ISIL. The world needs boots on the ground and the Kurds were willing to provide boots. The Turks seem to be stabbing the Kurds in the back. Democracy/modern government doesn’t work without the consent of the governed. The whole region needs a constitutional convention that sorts this out. Assad and ISIL will be small potatoes indeed if folks work together instead of fighting with each other. Then there’s Israel which wants their opponents to fight with each other… When will people learn that war is the last resort of weak people?

  4. ram says:

    Looks like Turkey fired up their civil war with the Kurds again. Big mistake!

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