— The Erimtan Angle —

Many people in Turkey accuse the country’s charismatic prime minister of being America’s lapdog . . .  and his personal relationship with the U.S. President appears to be cordial and close. The recent attacks on Turkey have now catapulted Turkey into the front seat. War sables are being rattled, while the U.S. appears to be looking on from afar. Now there are numerous voices claiming that Tayyip Erdoğan is readying Turkey’s Armed Forces to publicly intervene in Syria, acting as a proxy-army for the Obama White House. Is Erdoğan now really doing Washington’s dirty work or will he and the West wait till after the November elections to actively removed Assad from power???  On the other hand, Turkey and the U.S. have been supporting the so-called Free Syrian Army since April 2011.[1]

On Monday, Iran’s English-language propaganda broadcaster aired this analysis: ‘Prime Minister Erdoğan of Turkey has told his country to prepare for war against Syria relying on an unproven shelling that landed in Turkey from Syrian territory. The Turkish military has fired mortar shells into Syria for the fourth day in a row after a number of projectiles slammed into the southern border province of Hatay. Press TV has interviewed Michael Chossudovsky, Center for Research on Globalization, Montreal about the recent steps Turkey has taken and how the plan for NATO involvement inside Syria may unfold (8 Oct 2012).

Professor Chossudovsky’s words may very well be persuasive and insightful, but his assertion that Turkey has designs on Syrian territory seems nothing but far-fetched. On the other hand, it does sound good whether true or not. In the New York Times, then, Rick Gladstone posits that “Syria escalated tensions with Turkey on Monday [, 8 Oct.], accusing its neighbor and former friend of imperialist delusions reminiscent of Ottoman dynastic rule, as Syrian Army gunners exchanged artillery blasts with their Turkish counterparts across the border for the sixth consecutive day”.[ii]  Now, who is firing into Turkey???  Assad’s army, the FSA, or some as-yet unknown third party???

The vocal anti-NATO activist Rick Rozoff, for his part, opines that Turkey, “[h]aving shelled targets inside Syria daily for a week after a mortar shell landed inside its southeastern territory on October 3, which Ankara blamed on the Syrian military, the Turkish armed forces have again, as they did two months ago, moved tanks, armored personnel carriers, missile defenses and troops to the border and have deployed 25 warplanes to a base in Diyarbakır in the Kurdish region of the country, both actions allegedly targeting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) though in fact part of a general military mobilization that will not be limited to strikes against that group’s fighters and supporters. Turkey’s Doğan News Agency reported that 25 F-16 fighter jets and other aircraft arrived at the air base on October 8 and Today’s Zaman announced that 12 F-16s struck what were identified as PKK sites on Mount Qandil on the Iraqi-Iranian border. The following day Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh denounced the violation of his nation’s sovereignty, stating “These Turkish attacks on Iraqi territories are not acceptable and we will take the necessary diplomatic measures” and adding, “We do understand the reasons behind such acts, yet we do not tolerate such breaches.” Recently the Foreign Affairs Committee in the Iraqi parliament announced its intention to demand Turkish military forces leave the north of the country where committee member Safia al-Suhail stated there were 16 Turkish military bases inside Iraq near the two countries’ border. Revealingly, on October 8 Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki arrived in Moscow where he visited the foreign ministry and will meet with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to discuss closer ties in the military and energy spheres”.[3]

Curiouser and curiouser, and the plot thickens. The PKK has been stepping up its violent campaign of late,[4] and Turkey’s Armed Forces are always keen to kill PKK terrorists . . . and sixteen military bases on Iraqi soil sounds like a definite attempt to deal a deadly blow to the terror network, operating with impunity from within the KRG’s borders. At the same time, the KRG also appears to function as a transit road for fighters willing to engage the Syrian army. Whereas, Maliki’s Moscow visit seems to foreshadow the opening move of another game of alliance-building – Russia, China, Iran, and now Iraq too. The projected and now defunct Iran-Iraq-Syria pipeline would have been detrimental for the Gazprom Nation, but its age-old ties with Syria seem to have led the way to accommodating strange bedfellows. Rozoff continues: “Ahead of a two-day meeting of NATO defense chiefs, including the Pentagon’s Leon Panetta, to convene on October 9, Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen proclaimed “I can assure you we have all necessary plans in place to defend and protect Turkey, our ally.” On the same day Turkey’s head of state, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, threatened: “The state that is not ready for war at any moment is not fully developed. Turkey must be ready for war in any case.” Hürriyet Daily News cited an unnamed Turkish official as confirming that NATO “was active on the issue [of escalating military conflict with Syria] behind the scenes,” with his comments paraphrased as follows: “NATO has increased its military presence in the region with vessels patrolling in the Mediterranean Sea under Operation Active Endeavor and routine flights heading to its operations to Afghanistan, but these moves were not announced officially to avoid a reaction.” Last week, only hours before the shelling incident that has provided Turkey the occasion for authorizing ongoing military attacks inside Syria, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov told reporters in Moscow that his country had warned NATO and its allies in the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) against conspiring to manufacture pretexts for military intervention inside Syria such as demanding so-called humanitarian corridors or buffer zones inside the latter nation and launching armed provocations on the Turkish-Syrian border. He said, “In our contacts with our partners both in NATO and in the region, including on international forums, we have called on them not to look for pretexts in order to carry out a [military] operation.” The next day just such an incident occurred. [In early] October Ali Akbar Velayati, former Iranian foreign minister and current senior adviser to Ali Khamenei, accused NATO of laying the groundwork for war against Syria, stating, “Today, NATO is ready to issue a threat against Syria and intends to enter Syria under the pretext that one of the members of this organization [Turkey] has been threatened.” Turkish is harboring, arming and training thousands of so-called Free Syrian Army forces while conducting major air strikes inside Iraq and near the Iranian border and massing troops and military hardware on the Syrian border in a campaign to exterminate the PKK, a lawless rampage fully supported by the U.S. and NATO”.[5]


[1] Cfr. “Op-Ed: The Road to Intervention in Syria” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (06 June 2012). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/op-ed-the-road-to-intervention-in-syria/; “Exclusive: Turkey’s Central Role in Syria’s Civil War” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (30 June 2012). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/exclusive-turkeys-central-role-in-syrias-civil-war/.

[2] Rick Gladstone, “Syria Rebukes Turkey as Artillery Fight Continues” The New York Times (08 October 2012). http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/09/world/middleeast/syria-turkey.html?_r=0.

[3] “Turkey Plotting NATO Attack on Syria by Rick Rozoff” Dandelion Salad (09 Oct 2012). http://dandelionsalad.wordpress.com/2012/10/09/turkey-plotting-nato-attack-on-syria-by-rick-rozoff/.

[4] Cfr. “Turkey and Syria, as Seen by Iran” A Pseudo-Ottoman Blog (09 September 2012). https://sitanbul.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/turkey-and-syria-as-seen-by-iran/.

[5] “Turkey Plotting NATO Attack on Syria by Rick Rozoff”.

Comments on: "The War in Syria: Turkey following America’s Lead???" (2)

  1. sitanbul said:

    The latest developments: ‘Turkey has confirmed it is deploying more fighter jets to an airbase close to the border with Syria, amid artillery exchanges along its tense southeastern border with Syria. The announcement came amid reports of fierce fighting in the northern Idlib province on Tuesday where Syrian rebels are trying to take control of a strategic town.
    Al Jazeera’s Zeina Khodr reports from Antakya (9 Oct 2012)’.

  2. Stormy Kamke said:

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