Sunday, September 14, 2014

ISIL, not Assad regime, is beheading people--Muslims and non-Muslims--Turkey's misleading moral equivalencies justify ISIL crimes

    Sunday, September 14, 2014   No comments

ISR: Turkey tells U.S. to attack both ISIL and Assad at the same time because "there is no benefit in fighting ISIL if Assad remains." Turkey has asked the West to attack Syria in the past. But linking the two now is troubling because it shows that Turkey is willing to choose ISIL over Assad government. But it is ISIL, not Assad regime, that is beheading people--Muslims and non-Muslims--Turkey needs to stop making misleading moral equivalencies and accept responsibility for its failed and short-sighted policy towards Syria and Iraq.

Turkey seeks behind-scene role in NATO coalition
Turkey's position is complicated by its eagerness to uproot the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad, which led to its tolerance of anti-Assad Islamist fighters taking refuge on its side of the Syrian border. The same action may have given ISIL some breathing room in Turkey. More recently, it has been forced to confront the threat the group is posing.

Western concerns that Turkey was tacitly tolerating ISIL have been allayed by Turkey's strong statements of condemnation of the group and steps to rein it in, including kicking out suspected ISIL sympathizers.

But while expressing public support for Turkey, NATO allies are quietly saying they would like more action from their ally.

They would chiefly like to see Turkey tighten its border controls, stem the flow of fighters passing through Turkey from Western countries and the Middle East and crack down on the oil smuggling from Syria that is financing ISIL. They could also benefit from closer intelligence cooperation and possibly the use of the İncirlik air base in southern Turkey as a base from which to launch strikes against the group.

Western governments have been alarmed by the fact that ISIL has managed to smuggle Iraqi and Syrian oil across its borders. Turkey has cracked down, but analysts say Turkey has simply not been able to police the more than 700 miles of border with Iraq and Syria.

Both US Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel were in Ankara last week on successive trips to press Turkey on its role through meetings with officials, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. But they failed to win pledges of support for combat operations -- at least publicly. Both expressed understanding for the delicate position Turkey was in.

Turkey also declined to sign a US-brokered statement by Middle Eastern countries last week repudiating the ISIL group and pledging to fight it.


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