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Turkey Reaps Bitter Harvest of Its Syria Policy

Turkey Reaps Bitter Harvest of Its Syria Policy


 A member of the FSA checks a  bus as it drives past their checkpoint on a road
betweenAleppo and Turkey on  Aug. 1, 2012.
(photo by REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra)


By:Mohammad  Noureddine           posted on     Friday, Oct 5, 2012
The Syrian shelling that killed five Turkish citizens inside Turkish  territory cannot be deemed a dangerous development, regardless of how you view  it. The falling of Syrian shells inside Turkey is not something new, and it has  continuously been happening, yet often without being reported.


The incident is quite normal in the context of the battles raging between  the Syrian army and the armed opposition. It is very similar to what is  happening on the Syrian-Lebanese border, and sometimes on the border with  Jordan. But no one can consider this incident to be food for tensions or a  possible war. These kinds of things happen in all cases of military  conflict.

However, the problem has become obvious. Turkey harbors a grudge, and the  government of the Justice and Development (AKP) Party realizes how dangerous it will be should the impasse  continue, knowing that it has plunged itself into this impasse as a result  of its involvement in the internal conflict in Syria. Turkey wants to get out of  this stalemate by escalating tensions until a war breaks out. However, will it  succeed in doing so?

1. It is not clear whether the shelling came from the Syrian army or the  Free Syrian Army (FSA).  Assuming it came from the Syrian army, this does  not make it a serious incident in the context of the ongoing battles. Selahattin  Demirtas, chairman of the Peace and Democracy Party, had the audacity to say  that the incident was a massacre that was planned, in a bid to pass the  memorandum authorizing Turkey to use military force in Syria in parliament. In  fact, Erdogan, for the sake of his own selfish interests — being president of  the republic — is ready to do anything it takes, knowing that he had already led  Turkey into an atmosphere of war, months before the memorandum was passed.


2. Turkey is reaping the results of its military involvement in Syrian  affairs.As long as the FSA is freely moving from inside Turkey to Syria and  vice versa, it is only normal that such incidents arise. Had Turkey not allowed  and encouraged the emergence of this situation on its borders, it would not have  heard a single shot, not a single refugee would have entered its territory and  it would not have lost a single Lira.3. It is deplorable and surprising that the AKP-led government takes the  initiative of calling on the Turkish parliament to allow the government to use military force within Syrian  territory. This is similar to when the parliament authorized the  government’s memorandum regarding incursions into Iraq. Syria did not violate  Turkey’s territory or the Turkish army, and the fall of an incidental shell does  not require this measure.


The Turkish Parliament’s authorization of the use of force in Syria is a  serious escalation, not for the time being, but for when Ankara considers that  the conditions are ripe to use this card. I believe that such a memorandum — which is opposed by the Turkish opposition — is tantamount to a declaration of  war on Syria. Rather, it is an act of aggression, since Syrian forces have never  threatened Turkey’s sovereignty. What if the Syrian parliament did the same  thing itself, taking a decision whereby Syrian forces were entitled to pursue  militants who threaten its security inside Turkish territory?  Doesn’t  Turkey’s support for the armed Syrian opposition and the use of Turkish  territory on the part of these groups justify the issuance of such a decision by  the Syrian parliament?


4.  If only Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has cited both  Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror and Sultan Alp Arslan, followed the example of these  two (especially that of Alp Arslan, who announced his willingness to give up his  life in the face of the Byzantines in 1071 AD). If only he had announced a state  of alert in defense of the nine Turks who were killed by Israeli soldiers in the  Freedom Flotilla incident at the end of May 2010. Back then, Erdogan did not cut  diplomatic ties with Israel. Quite the opposite, Turkey’s trade with Israel  began increasing by 35% each year. The Turkish parliament did not seek to issue  a memorandum authorizing the government to use force against any Israeli threat.  In other words, Erdogan’s government is implementing a policy whereby it is “merciful to enemies and tough on associates.”


5. We have previously said that a few bullets or shells would be enough to  push Turkey to resort to NATO. As a result of this, we objected when the head of  Hamas’ Political Bureau Khaled Meshaal said that Turkey, a NATO member, was a  leader in the Islamic world. Erdogan should have resorted to NATO to respond to  Israel’s aggression on the Marmara ship.


However, it has become widely known that Turkey is engaged in a game of  political brinkmanship, hoping to lure the West, the US and NATO toward the  Turkish position and toward aggression against Syria. Turkey alone would not  dare attack Syria. The fact is that 60% to 90% of the Turkish public is against  military intervention in Syria.


However, the Turkish exaggeration of the shelling incident in Akcakale will  not be heeded by Washington or Brussels, where the headquarters of NATO are  located. NATO has announced more than once that it will not intervene in Syria,  and Washington is not likely to intervene either, neither before nor after the  presidential election, because they take into consideration Russia and Iran’s  position regarding the Syrian situation. Therefore, Turkey’s exaggeration seems  inappropriate and will not achieve any results.


6. The only goal of the war memorandum — which was adopted by the Turkish  parliament with a majority, and opposed by both the Republican People’s Party  and the Peace and Democracy Party, in the absence of several MPs from the ruling  AKP — is a timely goal related to the battle against Aleppo. In fact, the memo  came following reports that the regime in Syria will send 30,000 troops to  Aleppo with tanks and guns. This could settle the battle there in favor of the  regime, thus leading to an expansion in regime forces along the Turkish border,  a miserable defeat for the FSA which would make it lose Turkey as a base of  supply. This would also make Turkey lose any material bases on the ground to  transform areas of northern Syria into buffer zones or a new Benghazi.

Hence, the issuance of this memo is aimed at distracting the Syrian army  from the Aleppo battle. It is also aimed at trying to save the FSA from  completely losing Aleppo, and subsequently all the land adjacent to the Turkish  border, thus diverting the Syrian army with Turkish threats and distracting it  on more than one front.


A few days — not weeks — later, Turkish officials will find themselves still  mired in the same impasse. They will find out that in order to get out of it, a  radical reconsideration of their Syrian and Middle Eastern policies is in order.  They will also find out that they have to stay away from illusions related to  the dominance of the Ottomans and Seljuks, while recognizing that the past is  gone and that the people of the empire are no longer subjects, but free and  independent people. All that Turkey is doing now is collecting anything it  considers to be of security or military importance in order to use it as a  pretext for military intervention when the conditions of this intervention have  ripened. Thus, it is making a “declaration of ill intentions” toward the future  Syria. As for the parliament’s memo, it is a deferred “declaration of  war.”

8 Responses to Turkey Reaps Bitter Harvest of Its Syria Policy

  1. who_me October 7, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    press tv is reporting:

    “Thousands of Turkey’s Alevi Muslims have marched in the capital, Ankara, to demand peace with neighboring Syria.”

    israel’s bum licks in the turkish government may be all hot to attack the syrian people, but the turkish people most definitely are not.

  2. who_me October 7, 2012 at 6:27 pm #

    “We have a very pro-Israel, a very pro-Zionist and a super control over Turkey… Turkey is becoming more of a puppet, where in the past they’ve been very closely aligned with Syria,” said former American Intelligence Linguist, Scott Richard, on Saturday.”

  3. who_me October 7, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    meanwhile, the zionazis use the attention that turkish war crimes against syria gathers to committ further war crimes against the people of palestine:

    “At least one Palestinian has been killed and 11 others, including five children, injured in a fresh Israeli airstrike on the besieged Gaza Strip, reports say.”

    tell me the subhuman things are not coordinating their war crimes with those they are having their turkish bendover bois commit…

  4. Paul Larudee October 8, 2012 at 12:30 pm #

    This is a very good analysis, but perhaps it gives too much credit to the capabilities of the government forces and too little to the abilities of the U.S. to pull its strings and perpetuate the struggle over Aleppo and other parts of Syria.

    I hope that my concerns are unfounded, because otherwise the level of death and destruction will remain unlimited for an indefinite period of time, which is a dream come true for the U.S. and Israel.

  5. Blake October 8, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    Don’t forget in 1974 Turkey invaded Cyprus just so USA could establish a military base there.

  6. who_me October 8, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    “Syria: False Flag Attacks To Clear A Border Zone”

  7. who_me October 9, 2012 at 11:05 am #

    “The mortar used to attack the Turkish town of Akcakale is a design specific to NATO and was given to Syrian rebels by Ankara, according to Turkey’s Yurt newspaper. The mortar killed one adult and four children from the same family on Wednesday.

    An article by the paper’s Editor-in-Chief, Merdan Yanardag, states that the newspaper received information from a reliable source, which claimed that Turkey itself sent the mortars to rebels in the so-called “free army.”

    “Turkey is a longtime member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and they’re going to act in conjunction with other NATO powers, so it’s unsurprising that this has happened,” editor of the Pan-African news wire, Abayomi Azikiwe, told RT.

    Many fear the situation will lead to regional conflict, with political analyst Dan Glazebrook, saying that Ankara aims to drag NATO into a war with Syria.

    “On the one hand the [Turks] are trying to give cover to the rebels to continue their fight, as they know that the rebels are getting defeated on the ground so they are bombarding Syria as a way to help the rebels not lose too many of their positions,” Glazebrook told RT. “But I think also they may be hoping that they can somehow nudge, provoke NATO into taking action as well, into prompting a kind of blitzkrieg that is actually the only thing really that would enable the rebels to win now at this state.”

  8. who_me October 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    Towards a Western retreat from Syria

    “The military situation in Syria is turning against those in Washington and Brussels who hoped to change the regime there by force. Two successive attempts to take Damascus have failed and it has become clear that that objective cannot be achieved.

    On July 18th, an explosion killed the leadership of the Council of National Security, signalling the beginning of a vast offensive during which tens of thousands of mercenaries descended on the Syrian capital from Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. After several days of pitched battles, Damascus was saved when the fraction of the population hostile to the government chose out of patriotism to assist the National Army rather than bid welcome to the forces of the FSA.

    On September 26, al-Qaeda jihadists were able to penetrate the interior of the Defense Ministry, disguised as Syrian soldiers and carrying false papers. They intended to detonate their explosive vests in the office of the joint chiefs of the military but did not get close enough to their target and were killed. A second team attempted to take over the national TV station to broadcast an ultimatum to the President but were not able to reach the building as access was blocked moments after the first attack. A third team targeted government headquarters and a fourth was aimed at the airport.

    In both cases, NATO coordinated the operations from its Turkish base in Incirlik, seeking to provoke a schism at the core of the Syrian Arab Army and rely on certain generals for the purpose of overthrowing the regime. But the generals in question had long been identified as traitors and marginalized from effective command. In the aftermath of the two failed attacks, Syrian power was reinforced, giving it the internal legitimacy necessary to go on the offensive and crush the FSA.

    These failures put a damper on those who had been crowing in advance that the days of Bashar al-Assad were numbered. In Washington, consequently, those counselling withdrawal are carrying the day. The question is no longer how much time the «Assad regime» will hold out but whether it costs the U.S. more to continue the war than to stop it. Continuing it would entail the collapse of the Jordanian economy, losing allies in Lebanon, risking civil war in Turkey, in addition to having to protect Israel from the chaos. Stopping the war would mean allowing the Russians to regain foothold in the Middle East and strengthening the Axis of Resistance to the detriment of the expansionist dreams of the Likud.

    While Washington’s response takes the Israeli dimension into account, it has stopped heeding the advice of the Netanyahu government. Netanyahu ended up undercutting himself through his manipulations behind the assassination of Ambassador Chris Stevens and through his shocking interference in the American presidential campaign. If the long-term protection of Israel is the goal rather than folding to the brazen demands of Benjamin Netanyahu, a continued Russian presence is the best solution. With one million Russian-speaking Israelis, Moscow will never allow that the survival of that colony to be imperiled.

    A glance backward is necessary here. The war against Syria was decided by the Bush Administration on September 15, 2001 during a meeting at Camp David, as confirmed notably by General Wesley Clark. After having suffered several setbacks, NATO action had to be cancelled due to the vetos of Russia and China. A «Plan B» then emerged, involving the use of mercenaries and covert action once deploying uniformed soldiers had become impossible. Given that the FSA has not scored a single victory against the Syrian Army, there have been multiple predictions that the conflict will become interminable and will progressively undermine the states of the region, including Israel. In this context, Washington signed onto the Geneva Accord, under the auspices of Kofi Annan.

    Subsequently, the war camp torpedoed this agreement by organizing leaks to the press concerning the West’s secret involvement in the conflict, leaks that led to Kofi Annan’s immediate resignation. It also played its two trump cards with the attacks on July 18 and September 26 and lost them both. As a result, Lakhdar Brahimi, Annan’s successor, has been called on to resuscitate and implement the Geneva Accord.

    In the interim, Russia did not remain idle: it obtained the creation of a Syrian Ministry of National Reconciliation; supervised and protected the meeting in Damacus of national opposition parties; organized contacts between the U.S. and Syrian general staff; and prepared the deployment of a peace force. The first two measures scarcely registered in the Western press while the last two were flatly ignored.

    Nevertheless, as revealed by Sergei Lavrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Russia addressed the fears of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff concerning Syrian chemical weapons. It verified that these were stored in locations sufficiently secure not to fall into the hands of the FSA, be seized by jihadists and used by them indiscriminately. Ultimately, it gave credible guarantees to the Pentagon that the continuation in power of so determined a leader as Bashar el-Assad is a more manageable situation, for Israel as well, than allowing the chaos in Syria to spread further.

    Above all, Vladimir Putin accelerated the projects of the CSTO, the Collective Security Treaty Organization, the anti-NATO defense alliance that unites Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kirghizstan, Tadjikstan and Russia itself. The foreign ministers of the CSTO adopted a shared position on Syria and a logistical plan was drawn up for an eventual deployment of 50,000 men. An agreement was signed between the CSTO and the U.N. Peacekeeping Department that these «blue chapkas» would be used in the zones of conflict under a U.N. Security Council mandate. Joint drills between the two are to take place from 8 to 17 October in Kazakhstan under the label of «Inviolable Fraternity» to complete the coordination between these two intergovernmental organizations. The Red Cross and the IOM will also participate.

    No official decision will be taken in the U.S. during the presidential campaign. Once that ends, peace might become conceivable.”

    Thierry Meyssan