Turkey's "Fall and Fall"
By: Burak Bekdil
Courtesy: Gatestone Institute
Less than a decade ago, many Western statesmen and pundits were
racing ahead to praise Turkey's Islamist leaders as "post-modern,
democratic, reformist, pro-European Union Islamists" who could play
the role model for less democratic Muslim nations in the Middle
East. It was "The Rise and Rise of Turkey," as Patrick Seale put it
in the New York Times in 2009.
In reality, the "post-modern Islamists" were just Islamists
gift-wrapped in a nicer package. Today, Turks are paying a heavy
price for the neo-Ottoman, revisionist, miscalculated strategic
vision of their leaders.
In July, a Turkish-Kurdish suicide bomber murdered more than 30
pro-Kurdish activists in a small town along Turkey's border with
Syria. Three months later, jihadist suicide bombersmurdered more
than 100 pro-peace activists in the heart of Ankara, in the worst
single act of terror in Turkish history. The Turkish government
manipulatively put the blame on a "cocktail" group of terrorists,
including Kurds. In January, jihadists murdered 10 German tourists
in Istanbul in another suicide bomb attack.
Most recently, on February 17, a Kurdish militant murdered nearly 30
people, including military personnel, just a few hundred meters away
from the Turkish parliament in Ankara.
In a span of only seven months, more than 170 people have lost their
lives in bomb attacks. This number excludes the more than 300
security officials killed by Kurdish militants, and more than a
thousand Kurdish militants killed by Turkish security forces since a
Turkish-Kurdish ceasefire ended last July.
Outside its borders, Turkey is floating on a sea of chaos too. The
country is in an increasingly dangerous proxy war against a bloc of
Shiite and Shiite-dominated governments in Damascus, Baghdad and
Tehran, plus their Russian supporters. In addition, for Turkey's
neo-Ottomans, Lebanon, Libya, Israel and Egypt are all "hostile
Government officials privately claim that Turkey's enemies were
using terror groups to launch attacks on Turkish targets. "It's like
you know well who is behind the attacks but cannot prove it ... The
masterminds can be one or more of the countries we have locked horns
with," a senior security official told this author recently. Not a
nice feeling to be the common target of a number of
thuggish-to-rogue states with the capability of manipulating
The players in the eastern Mediterranean theater, including Turkey,
are running after a bigger slice of a smaller pie. Turkey's
sectarian ambitions are no secret.
Russia has also piled up a very serious military inventory around
the Caspian Sea and the eastern Mediterranean. Russia is in the
process of encircling Turkey militarily -- in Syria, the Crimea,
Ukraine and Armenia. Most recently, Moscow announced the deployment
of a new batch of fighter aircraft and attack helicopters to an air
base outside the Armenian capital, Yerevan, 25 miles from the
Turkey looks helpless. Even its NATO allies look deeply reserved
over any help they would be prepared to extend to Ankara in case of
a conflict with Russia. Recently, Luxembourg's foreign minister,
Jean Asselborn, warned the Turkish government that it cannot count
on NATO's support if its tensions with Russia escalated into an
Russia's fight is not about defeating the Islamic State, but about
expanding its sphere of influence in the eastern Mediterranean,
including the mouth of the Suez Canal. In a way, Russia is
challenging NATO through Syria -- the same way Turkey is challenging
the Shiites through Syria….
(Excerpts from the article published by Gatesone Institute)
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