BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
Was anyone surprised when, last week, Turkey bombed Kurdish targets in Iraq and Turkey itself to “fight ISIS”… in Syria? How about using, as a “reason” for the aerial bombings, the attack in Suruç that killed 32 people attending humanitarian mission’s gathering? Will it surprise anyone to learn, months or years from now, that Suruç was another “false flag” operation conducted by Turkey’s secret services to create an excuse to attack Kurds and Syria? Remember the leaked recordings from Spring, 2014, of uppermost-level Turkish government discussions planning another such operation? Let’s not forget the Turkey/ Saudi-Arabia link to al-Nusra’s sarin gas attacks in Syria, attempting to pin the blame on the Syrian government for that?
But, let’s keep it simple and stick to locatio-location-location. Perhaps Turkey’s place-name changing map-makers (Zeitoun/Süleymanlı, Akhtamar/Akdamar, Dersim/Tunceli, and on ad nauseam) have be so thorough and effective that they have succeeded in creating a country of geographic illiterates who can’t distinguish among neighboring countries, and even between INside and OUTside Turkey!
The absurdity of Prime Minister Davutoğlu equating ISIS and the PKK/YPG (armed Kurdish organizations, respectively, in Turkey/Syria) as “terrorists” seems to be lost only on Turkish leaders. On the other hand, the cynicism of this “equation” seems to be lost only on the fools in Wahington, DC who are so blinded by their thirst for oil and Bashar al-Assad’s blood that they are willing to do anything in service of those twin urges.
The Kurds should not be surprised either, not by Ankara’s perfidy nor by DC’s willingness to sell them out. By their own admission, Kurds now recognize how they were used during the Armenian Genocide by the Ottoman murderers of the day. So the actions of the neo-Ottomanists in power today are perfectly consistent. As to the policy-makers in the State Department and White House, the track record is also consistent. George Bush Sr. incited Iraq’s Kurds to rebellion in 1991, then let them get massacred. In the 1970s, they had a hand in the support Iran and Israel gave Iraq’s Kurds, until Iran extracted what it wanted from Iraq. Going further back, the Kurds were stiffed when the Treaty of Sevres was superseded by Lausanne.
Iraq’s Kurdish leadership, especially the current president whose father was betrayed and played by the Iran/Israel/US troika four decades ago, should be VERY leery of giving in to Turkish demands to displace PKK bases located on its territory. Turkey, backed by the US, is doing everything it can do prevent Kurdish progress in Syria, and even subvert the gains already made.
It is apparent to the world that the most effective force against the expansion of the ISIS fanatics’ range of control are the Kurds. To damage the latter’s capacity is to seriously endanger countless millions of people and even what little stability remains in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and Israel would do well to be far more circumspect in their anti-Assad crusades. The whackos prevailing in the Syrian deserts today could easily be penetrating the Rub’ al-Khali and Negev deserts in ten years. Turkey should also be equally wary lest the ISIS-monsters, whom they have been (open-secretly) feeding, unleash their religion-based frenzy in Anatolia and the Western part of the Armenian Plateau.
The Kurds are in a simultaneously very enviable and very risky position. Everyone needs them because they are the only practical barrier to ISIS. No one else, not even far militarily-superior forces are in a position, for political reasons, to confront ISIS head-on. Yet, precisely due to their value, Kurds strike terrify those very same powers, Turkey being the best example of them.
In fact, Turkey is so internally conflicted (largely due to centuries of genocidal and Turkification policies) that its current government (the AK Party), recently having been knocked out of its perch as the majority party in parliament, is now using the mess in Syria as an opportunity to kill and vilify Kurds to shore up chauvinist support for likely snap-elections in November.
Remember that the Kurdish-based HD Party entered the Turkish parliament for the first time with 80 of its members elected. I have no doubt that much of this support came at the expense of the AKP. So, the AKP is hoping to handle multiple problems all at once: reign in Syria’s Kurds; wallop Turkey’s Kurds by tossing out years of negotiations with the PKK; discredit the political manifestation of Turkey’s Kurds, the HD Party, to regain a parliamentary majority; regain some international prestige lost because of Turkey’s support for ISIS and only recent agreement to let the US use the Incirlik airbase; and all of this in the service of the long term AKP goal of “re-establishing” a new “Ottoman Empire” in the form of Turkish hegemony over its neighbors.
An energy pipeline, emanating in Azerbaijan and traversing Turkey, was bombed, very possibly in response to Ankara’s attacks on Kurds. Any time fuels are involved, things get even more touchy and dangerous.
This situation has gotten so out of hand that Russia’s president reportedly got into a two hour, undiplomatic, argument with Ankara’s ambassador in Moscow, ultimately threatening to turn Syria into a “Stalingrad” for Turkey. Should that happen, can anyone imagine that the US would not get dragged (or jump) in, leading to a massive escalation?
This is an incredibly convoluted situation. But ultimately, it behooves us as Armenians, Americans, residents of this planet, and just plain human beings to oppose with all means at our disposal the adventurism and chicanery that Turkey has conducted in Syria. Write and tell your elected representatives and executive leadership, in all countries, to end this dangerous game.