Catherine Shakdam is a political analyst, writer and commentator for the Middle East with a special focus on radical movements and Yemen. A regular pundit on RT and other networks her work has appeared in major publications: MintPress, the Foreign Policy Journal, Mehr News and many others.Director of Programs at the Shafaqna Institute for Middle Eastern Studies, Catherine is also the co-founder of Veritas Consulting. She is the author of Arabia’s Rising – Under The Banner Of The First Imam
Published time: 20 Feb, 2016 15:58
With President Recep Erdogan at the helm, Turkey is suffering an acute case of dystopian political paranoia: confusing imperialism for sovereign nationalism, and terrorism for democracy-building. Worse still, Mr Erdogan is seeing allies in radical outfits.
We have reached a pitiful state of affairs indeed when political lines have been so blurred that powers are crying “terror” at those very factions and nations which are opposing them, while at the same time rationalizing the arming of radical militias on account that they play into their neo-colonial ambitions.
In the race for control over Syria, President Erdogan is desperately reaching for a life boat, throwing wild terror allegations at the Russian Bear to better salvage his failed imperial takeover of the Levant.
Confusion is now so rife over Syria that the likes of Turkey – a nation which has dabbled in terrorism in search of a new Ottoman dominion – feel secure enough in their geopolitical psychosis as to take offense at Russia’s counter-terror efforts, and let’s just say it is succeeding.
Earth to Turkey!
The real terrorists here are those still calling radical militants “moderates.” The real face of terrorism lies with those entities still willing to dress their murderous rampages against people and communities on account of their ethno-religious differences… Ankara’s vicious campaign against the Kurds springs to mind.
Turkey finds itself in a bit of a conundrum now that its leanings and allowances vis-á-vis the Black Flag have somewhat caught up with its administration, revealing an interesting side to Western interventionism. His hands stuck in the cookie jar, Mr Erdogan is furiously working a diversion, waving slanderous accusations at Russia and the YPG, as a shield against his own political sins.
An echo-chamber to Mr Erdogan’s political frenzy, Turkey’s PM has called on Moscow to end its support of terror against innocent civilians. My oh my, someone is in fact mighty confused.
“I’d like to warn Russia, which is giving air support to the YPG in its advance on Azaz, not to use this terrorist group against the innocent people of Syria and Turkey,” said Ahmet Davutoğlu, before adding, “Russia condemned yesterday’s attack, but it is not enough. All those who intend to use terrorist organizations as proxies should know that this game of terror will turn around like a boomerang and hit them first.”
Turkey this Wednesday suffered an attack on its soil which claimed the lives of an estimated 28 people, a tragedy which was admitted by the Kurdistan Freedom Hawks (TAK), a group once linked to the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party.
In a statement made available to the press, the TAK confirmed a 27-year-old Turkish national, Abdulbaki Sonmez, carried out Wednesday’s rush-hour car-bombing in Ankara, as part of a broader campaign against Turkey’s military aggression on the Kurds in the southeast of the country.
Interestingly, Ankara remains adamant the attack somewhat arcs back to the YPG – People’s Protections Units, and the PYD – Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party. It is important to note that both the YPG and the PYD have distinguished themselves for their resilience and incredible bravery against ISIS militants in both Syria and Iraq.
Their counter-terror efforts have been so significant in fact that Washington directly and profusely expressed its gratitude, support and friendship for the Kurds.
In January 2015, Jen Psaki, the then US State Department spokesperson exclaimed “We congratulate its (Kobane’s) brave defenders.” She then added: “We’ll continue to support them as we look to the coming weeks ahead. This is an important step in the first phase of a long-term campaign to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL, because of the strategic value ISIL places on Kobani … As there are humanitarian needs, whether it’s in Kobane and other places, I expect that we will contribute — continue to be major contributors.”
Ankara was not happy then, and it is certainly not happy today. For all Erdogan’s democratic grand-standing and admonitions of civil liberties, the Turkish president has little patience when it comes to the Kurds and their insistent calls for self-rule. Like so many imperialists in disguise, Ankara’s leadership only recognizes its sovereignty, and its rights… those of others simply need annihilating – as demonstrated by Mr Erdogan’s furious campaign against the Kurds… in Syria.
You read that correctly: Turkey is running a grand trans-national campaign against the Kurds, oblivious to the fact that its actions stand not only in violation of international law, but in negation of its own call for the assertion of its national integrity. What about Syria’s territorial sovereignty? What about those war crimes and human rights violations Mr Erdogan committed, and is committing by pursuing military interventionism outside his borders?
But here is where Erdogan’s Turkey really gets tangled up in a political fit – for all its plotting and conniving, Ankara could not derail Washington’s support for the Kurds in their stand against ISIS. More troubling still, the US actually considers the Kurds a viable ally in what is shaping up to be the next Middle East political make up. How troublesome indeed for Mr Erdogan to see that Washington stands by his appointed nemesis – hence its desire to discredit all Kurds by aligning them with terrorism.
Needless to say that the same logic has applied towards Russia and Russia’s position in the Middle East – essentially its desire to lay waste to Wahhabi-inspired terrorism to restore order in the region.
Let’s get real here, Turkey’s issues with Russia’s actions in Syria are rooted in geo-political self-advancement and neo-imperialism. In Ankara’s eyes, or rather Erdogan’s eyes, ISIS is merely a platform upon which to project his ambitions and powers – never mind how many people will have to die along the way, or the horrors such a policy will allow to manifest on the ground.
A promoter of terror in NATO’s clothing, Turkey has become a devolution unto itself, and an Orwellian punchline.
A dangerous political liability, Erdogan would love nothing more but to bend realities to its will by painting ISIS militants as angelic forces of good against the terrible evil of Russia’s lawful rationale.
It was Michael Lane, the founder of the American Institute for Foreign Policy from Washington, who pointed out in an episode of the Debate on Press TV how lines in Syria have become blurred – to which I replied that the dynamics were actually rather simple in their essence: terror on the one hand and those against it on the other.
It is only when powers play both sides that confusion ensues – as demonstrated by Erdogan’s propensity to lean toward Wahhabist terrorism over his own Ottoman nostalgia.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.