In a shocking development over the weekend, Turkey launched airstrikes targeting not the Islamic State, but Kurdish forces in Iraq and Syria.
Islamist government in Ankara is led by Obama pal Recep Erdogan (one of Obama’s top five international friends.) Turkey is purportedly one of the 60+ U.S. led members of the anti-Islamic State coalition. Worse yet, they are bombing the most effective ground force fighting ISIS with the United States’ blessing.
Obama and Erdogan had a phone conversation on the 22nd of July prior to the attacks on the 24th where Turkey got the green light from Obama. Erdogan himself clearly stated: “In our phone call with Obama, we reiterated our determination in the struggle against the separatist organization and the Islamic State” Erdogan told reporters adding that “we took the first step last night.”
“…reiterated our determination in the struggle against the separatist organization …”?
This would be the Kurds, the U.S. allies against ISIS whom Erdogan says that Obama is determined to struggle against. The Kurdish PKK and the Democratic Union Party (PYD)and its armed wing, Kurdish People’s Defense Units (YPG) has been America’s most effective battlefield partners against ISIS and Obama says nothing?
Msg. to the American people and the US gov. : Is this a penalty because we fought against ISIS instead of the world ? pic.twitter.com/YQYJmY2tls
— Peshmerga (@KURDISTAN_ARMY) July 26, 2015
— Brett McGurk (@brett_mcgurk) July 25, 2015
A lot of things happened in Turkey this past week that started with an Islamic State (IS) suicide bombing targeting Kurdish activists trying to get humanitarian aid into Kobane and a Turkish Soldier killed during a firefight with IS fighters and ended with the Turkish military beginning operations against the terrorist organization – and the Kurds themselves. The attack on the Kurdish activists resulted in 31 killed and another 100 wounded. The cross-border firefight that occurred last Thursday involved five IS personnel approaching the border and firing on a Turkish Army position.
Isn’t it odd that it was the cross-border attack that led to the Turkish military retaliation while no mention was made of the suicide attack? Like we said, the reason is because Erdogan is fine with an IS attack conducted on Turkish soil as long as the people being killed are Kurds. Oh the Turkish military will respond with “proportional” retaliatory attacks against IS along the border if they continue – we just think Turkey and IS will maintain their overall deal to not engage in any sustained campaign against each other. In our piece titled “Turkey Evacuates Tomb of Suleiman Shah,” we suspected that a deal might have been made between Erdogan’s government and IS leading to the relocation of Suleiman Shah’s tomb. The events that followed that incident have only added further weight to our suspicions. The problem is the Erdogan government is using last week’s cross-border incident as a target of opportunity to target something much higher on his priority list: the Kurds themselves. The Turkish Air Force has already launched several airstrikes on the Iraqi-side of the Tri-Border Region targeting PKK locations. One would think that the Erdogan government would be blocking access to IS-affiliated web forums, Twitter and Facebook accounts. But they’re not. Instead, the Turkish government is blocking access to Kurdish sites. Now why do you suppose that is? We think you may already know the answer.
In his last public speech, one of our nation’s founding fathers – Patrick Henry – said “United we stand – divided we fall.” Those words remain true to this day in our America, but they also apply to the Kurds. Nirchivan Barzani and Qudbad Talabani both represent the new generation of Kurdish leaders. They’re in a unique position to unify all of the Kurdish factions in the fight against IS and realize their collective dream of an independent Kurdistan. Failure to see through the agendas of Turkey and Iran will result in the failure to see the establishment of an independent nation. The ball is in their court. We close with this message to both Barzani and Talabani – its dangerously naive in thinking that you can depend on the Obama administration or trust that Turkey and Iran aren’t already plotting against your people. In the end you will only have each other. What’s more important, defending your homes and families from IS’ nihilistic ideology and the realization of your dream of a Kurdish nation – or some petty squabbles from your own Kurdish brothers? Think about what we said – your future depends on it.
The President of Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government Masoud Barzani, did not take the advice of the ISIS Study group.
He actually took the side of the Turkish government regarding the airstrikes against the PKK, calling the group “arrogant” and praising Turkey for taking a “positive” role in attempting peace talks.
“The Turkish government has taken positive steps, and has adopted a positive attitude for a peaceful resolution; however, we have seen that some sides (the PKK) has taken [sic] it as a matter of pride and did not utilize these opportunities,” Barzani said in statements on Monday.
Barzani noted he felt compelled to make a personal statement against the PKK “because there were wrong interpretations and information being given in my name,” additionally condemning the group for the killing of two Turkish officers, which Barzani noted “will not solve any problems in Turkey.” He added, “Many times we sent messages to the PKK to remain patient and wait, because the peace process takes time and is not an easy process.” The PKK ended a two-year ceasefire with the killing of two Turkish police officers this weekend.
Ankara says the simultaneous targeting of ISIL and the PKK is part of a campaign that will help create safe zones against extremists. But residents in northern Iraq, where the rebel camps of the PKK are located, have expressed concern.
Sayed Zain al-Deen lives in Amadiya.
“Turkish fighter jets came and hit our village with ten rockets. We and our children were really scared. They even bombed our water supply,” he explained.
Ankara has called for a special NATO meeting on Tuesday (July 28) to discuss its security concerns.
Jordan Matson, an American who has been in Rojava fighting ISIS with the Kurds since last Fall, had this to say on his Facebook page, Sunday:
Today the Turkish army fired tank rounds across the border into rojava wounding 4 ypg. West of kobane.
These actions are giving aid to Isis. The majority of turkeys military action has been against the Kurds, they have done next to nothing to harm Isis in the grand scheme of things.
On the 28th turkey will be asking NATO to support a war against Kurdish rebels in turkey and Iraq.
There never was any intention of doing great harm to ISIS.
How long will our elected officials follow along in this masquerade?
See also Patrick Poole’s in depth report at PJ Media on Turkey’s double dealing regarding the fight against ISIS: Obama Admin Backs NATO Ally Turkey’s Double Game with Islamic State After Turks Bomb Anti-ISIS Kurdish Groups:
This is not the first time that Turkey has been caught double-dealing against their U.S. NATO ally. There was the “gas for gold” scheme with Iran that allowed the Islamic Republic to skirt international sanctions, and Erdogan and the Turkish intelligence chief had a photographed meeting with U.S. designated Al-Qaeda global terror financier Yasin al-Qadi.
Curiously, shortly after those reports showing photographs of Erdogan meeting with al-Qadi appeared in the Turkish media, the Treasury Department under Obama removed al-Qadi’s terror designation.
The preferred route of thousands of foreign fighters now in the ranks of ISIS appears to have been mostly coming from Turkey and crossing the border into Syria, bringing complaints that Turkey was not doing enough to combat the group’s growth and that the border was becoming “a two-way jihadist highway.”
But a series of published reports going back to last year seem to show direct and indirect Turkish support for the Islamic State.
- In April 2014, Turkish media reports showed photographs of ISIS commander Abu Muhammad being treated at the Hatay State Hospital after being injured fighting in Syria. Opposition politicians also claimed that fighters with Jabhat al-Nusra, Al-Qaeda’s official affiliate in Syria, were allowed to stay at the guesthouses of the government’s Religious Affairs Directorate.
- Last November, Newsweek published an interview with a former ISIS fighter who said that ISIS fighters faced no obstructions entering from Turkey. Meanwhile, ISIS commanders bragged about the “full cooperation with the Turks,” while anti-ISIS Kurdish fighters were blocked by Turkish authorities.
- This account seems to be confirmed by a report from Aydınlık Daily, which reported in July 2014 that the Turkish intelligence service, the MIT, had transported members of Syrian terrorist groups and their weapons across the border.
- Two weeks after that report, at an event site approved by Erdogan’s ruling AKP Party and sponsored by a publication known for its ISIS sympathies, a rally was held in Istanbul where video showed speakers openly calling for jihad. There were also reports that recruiting for ISIS fighters took place.
- In January, Turkish military documents from the Gendarmerie General Command leaked online showed thatTurkish intelligence were transporting missiles, mortars and anti-aircraft ammunition for Al-Qaeda and actively obstructed the military from documenting the transfers.
- The New York Times reported in May that massive amounts of ammonium nitrate, a fertilizer used for making bombs, were being prepared in a Turkish town near Syria and transported across the border. The report quoted an opposition politician who admitted that the fertilizing was not for farms, but for bombs.
- Reuters reported exclusively in late May that court documents and prosecutor testimony revealed that Turkish intelligence had transported weapons across the border in 2013 and early 2014, aiding the offensive push by ISIS into Iraq in June 2014. Erdogan himself had said that the shipments were aid.