BY ARA KHACHATOURIAN
The United States’ “brilliant” foreign policy move over the weekend to strike a deal with Turkey to engage Ankara in its so-called fight against the Islamic State has quickly shown Turkey’s motives to finally back down and allow the US the use of its own airbase and to actively engage in the fight against what is also known as ISIS or ISIL.
Of course, this was prompted by what is being called an ISIS attack last week in Suruc, Turkey on the border with Syria as Ankara began enlisting the help of its NATO allies and the US to combat what it called terrorism on its territory.
It didn’t take long for Ankara to use this carte blanche provided to it by the US deal to turn its guns and warheads against the Kurdish population in Iraq. After staging a bombing attack on what was supposedly ISIS territory in Syria, Turkey attacked a Kurdish stronghold in Iraq, prompting the Kurds to call an end to the tenuous cease-fire with the Turks.
Turkey, which according to a former US Ambassador to Ankara, was facilitating the flow of Al-Qaeda and Islamic militants into Syria for a long time, also allowed its fluid border with the war-torn country to serve as a transport route for weapons and materials for ISIS, when its NATO ally, the US, had declared war on the Islamic State. Turkey’s apprehension to side with the US was its insistence that Syrian President Bashar al Assad should be removed from power in order to, according to Turkish officials, bring back stability, when in reality Turkey’s policy to extend its reach into Syria was the dominant factor in its posturing.
Furthermore, Turkey’s aiding and abetting of Islamist militants has had its immediate and intended impact on the Armenian population there—the invasion of Kessab, destruction of Der Zor and now the complete blockade of Aleppo.
Now, only days after the deal with the US, talk in Turkey has turned from how to fight ISIS to how to silence the Kurds, both within and outside Turkey—a long standing policy of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
As a follow-up to its military attack on Kurdish bases in Iraq, Erdogan is now looking to outlaw the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) by ordering a terrorism investigation into the party’s activities and calling for the revoking of the party’s parliamentary mandate.
The HDP, which won enough seats in parliament in last month’s elections to end the AKP’s absolute control of the Turkish legislature, has criticized official Ankara for inciting civil war and exposed Erdogan’s intentions to ice the Kurds from having any role in a future coalition government or the political stage in general. Erdogan’s actions against the HDP also undermine the democratic progress seen in Turkey after the June elections, a factor that was highly praised by the US.
So, what is the US to do when its ally is brazenly forfeiting its commitment to the intended aims of an agreement and is in fact using it to start a war against its own minority and continue its streak of crimes against humanity for which it is well known?
It is hard to believe that the seasoned US policymakers who thought of this disastrous deal did not see this coming. Since the US’ declared war on ISIS, the Kurdish population in both Iraq and Syria has proven to be a critical component of the fight on the ground, and has, according to the US military, been able to repel the threat from key positions in that area.
If the US does not take swift action, it will become complicit in another one of Turkey’s crimes against humanity. However, history has shown that the US does not mind being Ankara’s puppet, as was clear this past April when the world stood in recognition of the Armenian Genocide, and the US, once again, bowed out, continuing its complicity in that century-old crime against humanity.