Monday, June 29, 2015

Current Turkish government faces internal and external challenges as a consequence of its foreign policy miscalculations

    Monday, June 29, 2015   No comments

 Army asks gov’t to work out political and diplomatic avenues before Syria incursion

The Turkish military has reportedly asked the government to lay the diplomatic groundwork to facilitate its pending operation along the Syrian border to neutralize emerging security threats posed by the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) as well as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Several Turkish dailies have reported over the weekend that the military was already given orders to take measures, including an incursion in Syria, to stem possible advances by ISIL or the PYD and prevent the change in demographic composition of the Syrian provinces near the Turkish border. Although the military in principle said it will comply with the order by the government and fulfill the task, it asked the government to work with the US, Russia and Iran in order to coordinate diplomatically and reduce the likelihood of further complications.

The Cumhuriyet daily on Sunday said military planning is currently under way and did not include the mobilization of tactical units for an incursion into Syria. It said the operation will take place in an area of some 100 kilometers along the border, possibly 20-30 kilometers deep into Syrian territory. Such an offensive requires corps-level deployment, as the troops in the border areas are not equipped to handle this operation. Mechanized and armored units will also need to be dispatched to support the operation. The daily said no such mobilization has taken place yet, indicating that the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) is only involved in the operation planning stage for now.

Turkey's main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) is strongly opposed to Turkey's involvement in Syria. Gürsel Tekin, the deputy chairman of the CHP, said, “Turkey should never be a part of a dirty war in Syria.” Accusing the government of supporting ISIL, Tekin said it is not clear which group Turkey would be interfering with in a military operation. Instead of engaging in Syria militarily, Tekin asked the government to work with the UN to find a political solution to the conflict.

Turkish move into Syria would destroy peace capability: Iran

Any violation of a U.N. member country’s territorial integrity would destroy Turkey’s capacity to maintain peace and stability in Syria, Iran’s ambassador to Turkey, Ali Reza Bikdeli, said elaborating on media reports that Ankara is mulling military intervention into the neighboring country.

Asked about reports that Turkey aims to intervene in the Syrian town of Jarabulus, the Iranian ambassador said Turkey refuted these claims earlier.

“This issue came up several times. And, at the time, Turkey’s official authorities refuted these allegations,” the ambassador said late June 26, speaking to members of the Diplomacy Correspondents’ Association.

Underlining that Turkey has a major capacity to maintain peace and stability in Syria, “violating the territorial integrity of a U.N. member country would destroy all these capacities. We hope Turkey and Iran will jointly use their capacities to achieve peace and stability,” Bikdeli stated.


Turkey mulls bombing ISIL without sending troops to Syria

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) are not keen on sending forces into Syria in the near future unless its units are targeted despite a government directive encouraging an intervention, daily Hürriyet has learned, amid reports that the army is considering bombing the extremists from Turkey instead.

Having strongly indicated its reluctance to lend support to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), the TSK is inclined to engage in a bombing campaign against the front line of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and provide logistical support to the FSA only after the new parliament makes its stance clear.

Options for the TSK before the parliament elects its speaker and a new government is formed are limited to intensifying security measures at the border, upgrading the military presence near the border, increasing intelligence activity in the region and keeping units on full alert in line within the framework of the rules of engagement which are designed to treat any military approach from Syria as a threat, according to sources.

Arguments of civilian and military authorities

According to sources, the president’s office, the government, the Foreign Ministry and the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) want the TSK to support the Syrian forces fighting the central government in a fashion similar to the support given by the United States to Syria’s Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Kobane and Tal Abyad so as to prevent ISIL from gaining Azaz and Marea, which are close to the Turkish border and the scene of intense clashes.

In this context, hitting ISIL’s frontline with long-range artillery deployed on Turkish territory or with aerial attacks, while also lending arms and ammunition support to opposing rebel forces, are expected. The TSK is also said to believe that because such a step would target ISIL, it would be welcomed by the U.S.-led international coalition.

Deploying Turkish soldiers into Syria is not among the steps expected to be taken by the TSK in the short term.

The seizure of the 90-kilometer-long front from Jarabulus to Azaz by rebel groups, not Kurdish groups, would also benefit Turkey, according to sources.


Why does the ruling party in Turkey wants to intervene in Northern Syria now when ISIL is pushed away from its border by Kurdish fighters? It would seem that Turkish government sees Kurds as a bigger threat than Kurds.

US official: Kurdish gains to cut off ISIL supplies, personnel coming from Turkey

A senior US official has claimed that recent Kurdish gains in the area of the Turkish-Syrian border will help cut off supplies and personnel coming from Turkey to Raqqa, the de facto capital of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

US Deputy Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken said at the Center for a New American Security on Friday that Syrian Kurdish forces in recent weeks have shown "dramatic gains" in Syria, supported by US-led air strikes. The US Army said on Saturday that it conducted four air strikes near Kobani, a town on the border with Turkey, and hit ISIL targets. On Friday, US-led air strikes near Kobani hit eight units of ISIL fighters as well as several vehicles, fighting positions and staging areas used by the militant group.

Blinken said there is now a long stretch of the border between Syria and Turkey that is actually controlled by Kurdish forces which are allied with other Syrians. On Saturday, the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia in Kobani said they drove out ISIL militants from the town who had made an incursion on Thursday with suicide bombers and killed at least 200 civilians in ensuing clashes. The attack on Kobani followed a week after Kurds secured the town of Tel-Abyad, also on the Turkish border. The town's capture effectively restricted ISIL's ability to smuggle arms and fighters through Turkey to Raqqa.

Blinken said the capture of border areas by Kurds is "critical," because "if you can get that piece all across the border, you cut off the supply lines between Daesh and supplies and personnel coming in primarily from Turkey and going to Raqqa, their capital." Daesh is the Arabic acronym of ISIL.

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