Syria

Two-faced Turkey demands a terrible price for NATO expansion – Haaretz.com

Mr Erdogan will now expect Sweden and Finland to adhere to the spirit, and not just the (notably vague) letter, of the agreement. This means he will demand they back a future Turkish operation in Syria to combat the YPG, who happen to be the West’s main allies against Islamic State, support Ankara’s plans to expel and forcibly resettle over one million Syrian refugees in northern Syria, take concrete steps to extradite alleged members of the PKK and Gulen movement to face trial, unlikely to be fair, in Turkey, and keep schtum about Turkey’s poor human rights records and abuses of fundamental democratic freedoms.


Turkey will seize on any hemming and hawing on these issues as evidence of bad faith, if not betrayal, and a just cause to reignite a crisis in Turkey’s relations with the West. Turkey under Erdogan is a fundamentally untrustworthy ally. The NATO deal has triggered a countdown to the next noisy but inevitable conflagration.

Is Turkey more trouble to NATO than it is worth? | The Economist

Aside from a few words of condemnation at the start of the war in Ukraine, Turkey has remained on good terms with Russia throughout. When Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, visited Ankara this month his Turkish counterpart kindly suggested that the West should ease sanctions against Russia if Russia relaxed its blockade of Ukrainian ports. When Mr Lavrov repeated his claim that Russia had invaded Ukraine to liberate it from neo-Nazis, his host said nothing.

Mr Erdogan’s move to block Sweden’s and Finland’s accession to nato has further damaged Turkey’s standing in the alliance. The strongman has signalled that he wants the Nordic countries to extradite several members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (pkk), an outlawed armed group, and to drop a partial arms embargo against his country. He may also be shopping for concessions from America in exchange for withdrawing his veto, or from Russia for doing the opposite. Mr Erdogan occasionally sounds hostile to nato enlargement as a matter of principle. In a recent guest column for The Economist, he went as far as to blame Finland and Sweden for adding an “unnecessary item” to nato’s agenda by asking to join the alliance.

‘Libya troops motion’ to grant Erdoğan unlimited authority to send troops to another country – Nordic Monitor

In the concluding paragraph, the Turkish president requests the approval of parliament to send Turkish troops to foreign countries for operations and interventions in order to effectively protect Turkey’s interests and to help pursue a dynamic policy so as to to avoid facing a situation that can’t be remedied, adding that the scope of operations, number of troops and time deployed will be determined by him.

The use of the word “countries” instead of “Libya” as the country to which troops will be sent allows Erdoğan to send troops to any destination he deems necessary, on the grounds of protecting Turkey’s interests.

Turkey Targeting Iraq, Syria, Cyprus, Greece :: Gatestone Institute

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is at it, disrupting the region again. This time, he is threatening aggression not only against Greek islands, but also actually attacking the Kurds in northern Syria and Iraq as well as the Yazidis in their homeland of Sinjar, Iraq.

Turkey’s neo-Ottoman expansionist goals in the region appear to be the major motive behind its aggressive policies. The Republic of Turkey will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2023. Erdogan has publicly claimed parts of northern Syria, and Sinjar and Kirkuk in Iraq as part of Turkey in his dream for a new Ottoman Empire. In 2016, for instance, he referred to Misak-ı Milli (“the National Pact”), which contains six decisions about the borders of the Ottoman Empire made by the last term of the Ottoman Parliament in 1920. The National Pact includes claims to parts of Iraq and Syria. “We have responsibilities in accordance with Misak-ı Milli,” Erdogan said.

Iran, Turkey brace for face-off in Syria – Al-Monitor

Driven apart by clashing regional interests, Turkey and Iran appear headed for a face-off in Syria, with Tehran explicitly opposing Ankara’s plan for a fresh military operation against Kurdish-held areas, wary of risks to its own posture in the region.

Turkey has failed to get a green light from the United States to press ahead with the plan, while Russia appears to be stalling. The Iranians, meanwhile, have sent militia reinforcements to two Shiite settlements northwest of Aleppo, not far from a key area in Ankara’s crosshairs, while trying to talk Turkey out from making the move — apparently with little success thus far.

US-Backed Kurdish-Led Forces Say Ready to Coordinate With Syrian Army Against Turkey – VOA

Any Turkish operation would attack the Kurdish YPG militia, a key part of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that controls large parts of north Syria and is regarded by Washington as an important ally against Islamic State. Ankara sees it as a terrorist group and extension of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).

A spokesman for the Turkey-backed Syrian National Army (SNA) said Russia was reinforcing positions near Tal Rifaat, Manbij, the southern outskirts of Kobani, and Ain Issa – all towns within 40 kilometers of the Turkish border.

“Since the announcement of the operation, the Syrian regime and its Iranian militias have mobilized and [are] sending reinforcements to the YPG,” Major Youssef Hammoud told Reuters.