The explosion that happened in Suruc that killed 32 Turks and in which ISIS was held responsible was like a spark that caused the situation upon the Turkish-Syrian border to explode. So the Turkish planes commenced to bomb ISIS’s positions inside Northern Syria and Kurdish Workers party positions in Jabal Qindeel in Northern Iraq. This is whilst the Turkish security agencies detained up to 600 of those who were suspected of belonging to the two movements. As a result of it the truce between Turkey and those armed of the Kurdish Workers party came to an official end which had been signed by the two sides in 2013. After the breaching of the truce by Turkey the party announced the end of the agreement that had been signed with the Turkish authority. In their statement they said, “The truce no longer has a meaning after the attacks of the occupying Turkish army” in accordance to its viewpoint.
Turkey is now making efforts to control the northern Syrian regions by land and the Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said, “Instructions have been given to conduct air strikes in Iraq and Syria and they will be followed by a land operation”. This is whilst the Turkish government has declared that it has resolved to establish secure regions in northern Syria after expelling ISIS from it.
The most significant aspect of all of this is that the Turkish government had agreed for the first time after the occurrence of this explosion (in Suruc) to grant permission to the American planes and others which are allied to it to utilise all of the Turkish air bases, including the Incirlik base, in order to conduct strikes upon ISIS’s positions, without presenting the issue to the parliament.
These rapid occurring developments and what they represent in terms of danger to the region as a whole would not have occurred had the American administration not agreed to them. White House Deputy spokesman Alistair Baskey stated, “Turkey has the right to defend itself against the attacks of the Kurdish insurgents.” This then represents an implicit indication in regards to the American Administration’s support towards the Turkish strikes.
The question that is posed to oneself here is: Why did the Turkish leadership agree now to strike at ISIS after it had previously strongly refused to do that in spite of the existence of American pressures?
It should not be said in the answer to this that the incident of Suruc was the reason that led to this sharp turnaround in the Turkish position because this incident represented a spark and not the reason and it is a pretext and not the motive. As for the reasons and motives then they are political and not security based and they are greater than and go well beyond the mere incident of the explosion.
The American pressures on Turkey to open Incirlik base and make its Incirlik base available and to grant the American planes facilities within it is an old and well-known reality. The political leadership in Turkey had feared the backlash of that from the Turkish public opinion that abhors granting those facilities to America. Specifically in this regard the Turkish parliament had already voted against the American insistence when it had requested to open the basis to its aircraft previously.
What then has changed that has made Turkey submit to this American demand?
It appears that America has agreed upon a comprehensive political package with Turkey that includes the opening of its bases to American aircrafts just as it includes other matters. In order for this package to pass, it was necessary for there to have happened a major security incident like the Suruc one. The orchestration of that incident therefore had obvious Intelligence measures behind it.
It appears that this deal or package comprises of the following matters:
1 – America’s agreement to Turkey conducting strikes against the Kurdish Workers in northern Iraq and to prevent its twin in Syria, the Kurdish Democratic Union, and its followers of militias which are called the people’s protection units, from expanding and to thwart the establishment of a Kurdish entity in the north of Syria. This is in addition to reassuring Turkey and the public opinion within by removing the spectre of the Kurdish danger that is calling for the establishment of a unified Kurdish state in the region.
2 – To scare the Turkish voters from giving their votes to the Kurdish Peoples Democratic party which is sympathetic to the Kurdish Workers party or to any of the other parties that are sympathetic to it. This is in an attempt to isolate it from the wider public platform and thereafter to bring it down in the elections that are supposed to be repeated in Turkey. This is in addition attempting to increase the popularity of the Justice and Development party and enable it to win in the coming elections.
3 – To support the Syrian opposition that is described as being moderate in Syria and which is loyal to Turkey and to enable it to realise new accomplishments upon the backdrop of what was accomplished by the Idlib front a few months ago.
4 – The opening of the Turkish military bases to the movement for America’s aircrafts and providing all facilities to it. These facilities, in respect to America, are considered to be the most important point of this package and perhaps it represents the single firm pillar within it. This is because all of the other previously mentioned matters or items of the package could change and Turkey could fail in achieving all of its objectives contained within them. This is whilst the opening of its bases to the American aircraft is the objective that is certain within the package and it represents a matter of extreme importance to America. It represents a great achievement for it and America will not be that bothered if all of the other parts of the package were to fail. This is if it is even truly serious about implementing them.
These then represent the real objectives that lie behind the Turkish attack upon northern Syria and Iraq whilst the extent of the solid coordination with the American side is apparent through them. It is clear from which the extent of close coordination with the American side, as can be seen over the treacherous concessions made by the Turkish state to facilitate the movement of its (American) aircrafts in the region. Through this treachery the sovereignty of Turkey has been violated whilst America has been granted greater logistical privileges upon the ground and in the skies.
Written for Ar-Rayah Newspaper – Issue 36
By: Ahmad Al-Khatawani
Original Arabic article