Tuesday, July 21

Turkey accused of helping Islamic State. Now if only someone would accuse US State Dept

Interestingly The Irish Times headlined the Reuters story, Turkey accused of backing Islamic State over Kurds even though it's clear from the lede that Reuters wanted to emphasize the Turkish government's denial of the accusation. (See Reuters report below.)

But the Irish paper has it right; the big story is that Turkey has been fooling around with Islamic State and other terrorist organizations for years in an example of the "Enemy of My Enemy" strategy I sent up in my Nutters in Charge post. Now, with the terrorist attack in Suruc, the chickens have come home to roost for Turks. 
However, as Tony Cartalucci pointed out in December 2014 (TIME Admits ISIS Bringing Arms, Fighters in From NATO Territory), there are limits to how much Turkey can be blamed for its self-destructive juggling act:

To defeat ISIS, its supply lines must be cut -- a simple matter to perform that requires only Turkish and other NATO troops to move in and disrupt overt ISIS logistical networks running within their own territory.
Instead, the US State Department and US-operated NGOs have even gone as far as condemning what little attempts have been made to control Turkey's border with Syria.
The US State Department's Voice of America in their article, "Turkish Border Crackdown Imperils Syrian Refugees," used the pretext of "human rights" to condemn Turkey for what meager control measures it has attempted to put in place.
I didn't know State owned VOA and what Tony proposed isn't simple but the point is that if governments want to be jugglers in this era they should join the circus.

State doesn't get it yet -- or if it does, this hasn't translated into a change in policies in Washington's diplo-defense establishments. In this era there are too many powerful players with too many competing agendas to juggle them into successful arch-alliances, as the USA did in the post-World War Two era. (A reality that China's government also has yet to appreciate.)

Nowhere is the wacky juggling act more evident right now than with Turkey, as this analysis at Euro News (What is behind Turkey’s Suruc attack?) indicates. Probably the reason IS or one of its affiliates carried out the bombing in Suruc was to punish Turks for the government's recent crackdown on IS and ramping up of border controls. While both are too little too late, they do point to the enormous complexity of the situation, which includes the government's long struggle against Kurdish separatists.
Turkey denies turning blind eye to Islamic State as bombing stokes anger
by Mehmet Emin Caliskan
July 21, 2105 - 2:50 PM EDT

(SURUC, TURKEY) Turkish prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu has rejected accusations that the country had in the past tacitly supported Islamic State (IS) militants operating from Syria – unwittingly opening the door to a suicide bombing that killed at least 32 people in Suruc on Monday.

The blast tore through a group of university-aged students from an activist group as they gathered in the border town ahead of a planned trip to help rebuild the nearby Syrian Kurdish town of Kobani.

Kobani has come under repeated assault from IS and been a rallying point for Turkey’s Kurdish minority, who have been enraged by what they see as the refusal of the ruling AK Party to intervene in a conflict played out within clear sight of Turkish military positions.

Thousands of foreign fighters have crossed through Turkey to join IS over the past few years, fuelling accusations from government opponents that it is turning a blind eye.

The US and other western allies have also urged Turkey, a Nato member that shares a 900km border with Syria, to do more to tighten security on the frontier.

No links

“Turkey and AK Party governments have never had any direct or indirect links with any terrorist group and have never showed tolerance to any terrorist group,” Mr Davutoglu told reporters in Sanliurfa province, where Suruc is located.

Authorities have carried out a string of raids in recent weeks to arrest IS suspects. They have also blocked more than half-a-dozen Islamist news websites, prompting one group claiming allegiance to Islamic State to accuse Turkey of persecuting Muslims.

Anger among Kurds and their sympathisers has boiled over since the attack at Suruc.

Many of those killed were young Alevis, a minority community whose faith is a distinct branch of Islam, and who were politicised during anti- government protests in 2013, according to one survivor.

“They were living in more comfortable conditions in Turkey’s west, but had consciences and wanted to help the people of Kobani,” said Akdag (36), who travelled to Suruc to perform a play for refugees from Kobani. He escaped the bombing unhurt.

“We wanted to bring art, aid, toys,” he said. “We weren’t going to wage war.”

Backing IS

The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), militant group that has waged a three-decade insurgency against the Turkish state, said the AK Party bore responsibility for the bombing, accusing it of backing IS against Syria’s Kurds.

Pro-government media accused the Peoples’ Democratic Party, which draws most of its support from Kurds, of seeking to exploit the Suruc attack by provoking Kurds to take up arms, an accusation its leader, Selahattin Demirtas, has denied.

The identity of the Suruc bomber has not yet been revealed, but some media reports said a man from the southeastern province of Adiyaman was a prime suspect.

Mr Davutoglu said a suspect had been identified and his links were being investigated. – (Reuters)


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