July 27, 2015
Last week, after a suicide bomber attacked a Turkish town near the Syrian border, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan allowed the U.S. to launch aerial attacks on Islamic State (IS) from Turkish bases. Although this tactical aid is important, writes Michael Rubin, it does not mean that Turkey has suddenly gone back to being an American ally:
Has Erdogan finally recognized that his passive, if not active, support for IS has endangered all Turks with a jihadist backlash?
[Although] those directing the U.S. fight against IS . . . might applaud Turkey’s sudden cooperation, . . . they don’t recognize that Turkey might be pursuing very different goals. While Turkish planes have launched some attacks on IS targets in Syria, they have directed far more sorties bombing the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) insurgents and fighters in northern Iraq. . . .
Another way to look at this is that Turkey is bombing the same Kurdish Peshmerga [fighters] who have been most successful at rolling back IS in Syria and around Mount Sinjar in Iraq. By such a flagrant violation of the peace process with the PKK, Erdogan also is preparing the groundwork for dissolving the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the Kurdish party whose members generally sympathize with the PKK and whose election success in June denied Erdogan’s followers a majority for the first time since they came to power in 2002.