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Turkey learned to hold on without its ‘friends'

MARKAR ESAYAN
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Turkey learned to hold on without its ‘friends'

Turkey has noted the attitudes of all its friends. A new type of relationship is necessary. And the choice regarding the nature of this relationship is more critical for the fate of the West itself than of Turkey

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) entered DAESH-controlled Jarablus on Aug. 24 at 4 a.m. Three days before that operation, DAESH targeted an outdoor wedding celebration in Gaziantep, and a 12-year-old suicide bomber killed 54 civilians, most of whom were children and women.

DAESH began to launch better-prepared and more extensive attacks against Turkey from January 2014 onward. Compared to attacks prior to that date, the new tactics it employed and the sophistication of attacks showed that DAESH was waging war on Turkey.

Turkey included DAESH on its list of terrorist organizations in 2013 and joined the anti-DAESH coalition in August 2015. While the number of terrorist attacks by DAESH directly targeting Turkey was 10 before that date, the figure surged to 24 after Turkey joined the coalition.

By the way, the first airstrike against DAESH was conducted by Turkey on an armed convoy before the coalition took action. It must be remembered that DAESH had already called President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan an "apostate" who "must be killed" and has reiterated this claim on a number of occasions.

Obviously, the most important reason for this is that in addition to being a Sunni-majority Muslim country, Turkey is a developed, secular, modern nation and society that serves as a model in the region. Besides, after coming to power, Erdoğan and his conservative Justice and Development Party (AK Party) improved the country's democracy and economy tremendously in the last 15 years.

DAESH does not resemble al-Qaeda or similar organizations that conduct desperado attacks in various regions allegedly to avenge oppressed Muslim peoples. DAESH is a structure that aims to carve out a so-called Islamic state in parts of Iraq and Syria. And following the incredible capture of Mosul, this organization became a neighbor to Turkey along much of its 911-kilometer long border with Syria.

Thus, two contrasting types of state models for Muslims in the Middle East have come side by side. That Turkey is offered as an example to other Muslim-majority nations constitutes a huge obstacle for DAESH. For all these reasons, DAESH considers the toppling of the regime in Turkey as a long-term strategic target.

By supporting the coalition and opening its bases to coalition members while ensuring effective control of the border, Turkey has dealt DAESH the greatest blow. It was the military rationale behind DAESH's targeting Turkey. DAESH has either tried through controlled aggression to dissuade Turkey from putting pressure on it or to drag Turkey into Syria and cause it to fight various parties simultaneously, while taking advantage of the resulting situation.

Naturally, no one in Turkey believes that DAESH is an organic movement. DAESH cedes its territories to the PKK along Turkey's entire southern border to help create a PKK and Democratic Union Party (PYD) corridor. All foreseeable consequences of DAESH's strategy involve a partition of Syria into three zones; a PKK, a DAESH, and an Alawite state. Hence it is clear that this strange organization is being used as a lever in some way.

While Turkey was engaged in the deadly fight against DAESH, an interesting campaign was being conducted by its Western friends. That campaign was based on the claim that Turkey assists DAESH. Beginning in early 2013, Turkey's Western allies accused Turkey, either openly or covertly, of providing assistance to DAESH. They based these accusations on mere disinformation, false news from mainly PKK media and statements by unidentified commanders.

Interestingly enough, loyalists of Fethullah Gülen, the mastermind behind the July 15 coup attempt that the West remained silent about and even tacitly supported, embedded in government agencies, hatched a plot through the judiciary and the police to create the impression that trucks belonging to Turkish intelligence were carrying weapons to DAESH and lent credibility to these allegations. Images and video footage of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) trucks intercepted in Hatay and Adana were leaked to the world media. This campaign was eagerly used at home by the Republican People's Party (CHP), the party of elites, liberals and leftists.

The former Adana public prosecutor, who conducted this operation at the time, was arrested last week for being a member of the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).

But it didn't stop there. DAESH attacked Kobani at that time, a region that the PYD, PKK's Syrian affiliate, had taken control of after killing or driving away other Kurdish groups. The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the PKK's political wing, capitalized on the resulting atmosphere created by the not-so-coincidental MİT trucks operation and urged Kurds to take to the streets. Taking to the streets after the call from HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş, militants from the PKK's youth branch, the Patriotic Revolutionist Youth Movement (YDG-H), killed devout Kurdish youths. A total of 52 Kurds were killed during this terror wave. The aim was to create a "de facto" situation in the region to cantonize and eventually unite regions along Turkey's Syrian border.

In other words, Turkey was targeted by DAESH on one hand and being forced into a civil war on the other hand, through the provocation that it assists DAESH.

But Kurdish citizens didn't respond to these calls. The PKK and the HDP decided to increase the tension immediately after becoming the third party and entering Parliament with 80 deputies for the first time in the Republican era in the June 7, 2015, elections. They intended to sabotage the reconciliation process, which required that the PKK pull its armed forces out of Turkey. On July 22, two police officers were shot dead while sleeping in the Ceylanpınar district of Şanlıurfa province near the Syrian border, and the process collapsed.

Today, it becomes clearer that all the moves involving DAESH, the PKK, FETÖ and the PYD at their center, serve the same purpose. Voice recordings of police officers unleashing severe violence and using gas against protesters during the Gezi crisis recently emerged. These were Gülenist police officers abusing their powers to provoke people. They are currently awaiting trial.

It seems that the superior mind that controls all these organizations wanted a remote-controllable Turkey while establishing a new world order. That's why Erdoğan is hated so much. The plan was to hand over control of both Turkey and Syria to "good boys" through the collaboration of FETÖ-PKK-DAESH. On the other hand, Muslims were left to choose either the head-severing DAESH or Gülenist type surrender with the final aim to control the Islamic world.

This is both immoral and unwise. Turkey is a unique partner of the West as a model that internalized Western values and democracy, which excludes violence, which has a strong economy and an established political structure. Marginalizing this partner and turning it into another Syria is like opening the gates of hell. So, if the world is to be a better place in the 21st century, it will be possible only with a democratic, Western and strong Turkey. Apparently, the Middle East is still the center of the world, and Turkey is of key importance for stability in the Middle East, Caucasus and the Balkans.

In sum, Turkey has noted the attitudes of all its friends. A new type of relationship is necessary. And the choice regarding the nature of this relationship is more critical for the fate of the West itself than of Turkey.

Turkey has learned to hold on without the support and despite the betrayal of its friends. It has become stronger after blows that failed to bring it to its knees.

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