Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Turkey and the Syrian civil war

Another reminder of the hazards of intervening in other countries' civil wars, Syria's in this case. Robert Fisk (Erdogan’s meeting with Putin will tell us what the future holds for Syria Independent 08/09/2016):

[I]f Nato and the EU believe they can rely on their faithful ally Sultan Erdogan to pursue the destruction of the Assad regime or curb refugee flows to Europe – or tolerate US jets flying out of Incirlik airbase and other former Armenian properties in Anatolia – they can think again. ...

The first post-coup visit [the failed coup attempt of July in Turkey] of [Turkish President] Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to Russia –and there’s a coup of a different kind.

Here’s another line from the Tass version of Erdogan’s pre-St Petersburg declarations: "A solution to the Syrian crisis cannot be found without Russia. We can resolve the Syrian crisis only in cooperation with Russia.”
The US is heavily dependent on Turkey and that Incirlik airbase - which reportedly has something like one-sixth of NATO's nuclear arms supplies - to conduct the war against the Islamic State in Syria. The EU is relying on Turkey to hold refugees from Syria, Libya and other African countries in Turkey and not send them on to EU countries.

This is likely to get even more complicated.

Fisk also notes:

And then, above all others perhaps, those who will fear for their lives in the aftermath of this fraternal jaunt to the Tsar’s palace: the Turkish army. For what is becoming ever clearer is that – and this is called the kicker to the story – Russia and, indeed, Iran played an intelligence role in warning Erdogan of the military coup plotted against him.

The Arabs have already been told by their Russian collocutors that Putin, being the old KGB boss that he was, personally sent a message to Erdogan after learning of the coup from Turkish army communications, which were picked up and listened to by Russian technicians at their air base just outside Latakia in Syria.

The Iranians – who would be happy to see Turkey turned against their Sunni Islamist enemies in Syria – also tipped off Erdogan about the coup, so the Arabs have been told. [my emphasis]

No comments: