Global iGuerilla Update

About Face

Monday, July 27, 2015

Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party won Turkey’s elections in 2003. They are Islamist; reversing the secular trend set by Ataturk after WWI. Ever since, they have been nudging Turkey away from being a secular, pro-western ally to being an Islamist, anti-western antagonist.

They’ve supported the Islamic State and the other Islamists in Syria by not opposing them. They watched Kobane fall to IS and denied the US the use of Incirlik, the traditional airbase for NATO and allied air operations in the Middle East.

They just changed their minds and began bombing the IS and opened Incirlik to American fighters. So, why the change?

1. The Kurds live in northern Iran, Iraq and Syria and southern Turkey and have yearned for a state of their own for decades. The Syrian Kurds (the YPG) have been taking ground in northern Iraq and Syria and Turkey is now facing the possibility of having a Kurdish state on their southern border when the Syrian War is over. If the new state perceives Turkey as an enemy it may support the already restive Turkish Kurds.

2. Erdogan has been doing is best to imitate Putin’s transformation of Russia from democracy to dictatorship and was doing quite well until his party lost the last round of elections to, of all parties, the Kurds. The Islamists are in check and Erdogan must appease the Turkish Kurds.

3. Attacking IS allows Erdogan to get away with attacking the Turkish Kurds (the PKK) in Syria. Turkey began bombing them shortly after bombing the IS. The PKK has fought the Turks for Kurdish autonomy for years and are labeled a terrorist group by the Turks.

And so the convoluted Middle East marches on.

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