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Thread: Turkey in Syria & ISIS (merged thread)

  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Turkey in Syria: new flashpoint

    A revelation to me - there is a small, sovereign Turkish land in Aleppo! The Turks have a tiny garrison and have warned approaching ISIL to stay away.

    Taken from one report:
    There are currently around 25 Turkish soldiers based in and around Jaber Castle in Aleppo, which contains the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, Osman Gazi.....According to international agreements made in 1921, the territory is officially Turkish property with Turkish appointed guards and a Turkish flag. Turkey warned that any attempt to attack the territory would be considered an attack on Turkey and an attack on a NATO member.
    Note the report refers to ISIL earlier this week being 35 kms away. So is this really nearby or a ploy by the Turkish government mired in internal issues?

    Link:http://www.worldbulletin.net/turkey/...ased-in-aleppo

    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-14-2014 at 04:31 PM.
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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Where is the tomb? Helped by the sparse Wiki:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tomb_of_Suleyman_Shah

    The map will not load here, so a link instead:https://maps.google.co.uk/maps?q=the...ed=0CAoQ_AUoBA

    An earlier news report cites the site is:
    ..the fenced compound on a strip of land jutting into the water near the village of Karakozak, about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from Turkey.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 03-14-2014 at 05:49 PM.
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    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    The Turkish garrison of that place (there is a small fort occuppied by Turkish Army nearby) is on alert, and the Turkish military is monitoring ISIS movements in the area.

  4. #4
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Flashpoint reappears over Turkish tomb in Syria

    EA reported yesterday that:
    Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has confirmed that Turkey has sent its first military convoy into Syria. Erdoğan said the convoy took “aid” to the tomb of Süleyman Shah, the grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire, 25 kilometers (about 16 miles) inside Syria in Aleppo Province.

    Claims circulating on social media on Wednesday said six Turkish tanks, 12 armored vehicles, and 300 Turkish soldiers had been deployed 200 meters from the positions of the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham. Video showed part of the convoy moving through a Kurdish checkpoint in northern Syria
    Link:http://eaworldview.com/2014/04/syria...eppo-province/

    Today EA reports ISIS has issued a demand to Turkey, in a video:
    Although the Turkish armed forces are expected to withdraw immediately, we have given a three-day period. We ask them to remove the Turkish flag and withdraw the soldiers. We do not give consent to the armed forces of a secular country within ISIS’s sacred land. Otherwise, we will demolish the tomb.
    Within a daily update:http://eaworldview.com/2014/04/syria...election/#ISIS
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-24-2014 at 01:19 PM.
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  5. #5
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Even more curious the way the Turks left

    One analyst concludes that:
    on the way out, reports indicate that the convoy passed through Jarabulus – ISIS controlled territory.

    There are scattered reports that ISIS stopped the convoy at the Qara Qawzak Bridge. As far as I can tell, ISIS controls the bridge. Pro-PYD folks have tweeted that there was some sort of interaction between the Turkish convoy and ISIS at the bridge. After the interaction, the convoy is reported to have continued on to Manbij, before turning towards Jarabulus, and then re-entering Turkey through Karkamis. I find this odd.


    The most straight-forward way to go about this would have been to simply turn back and return through PYD controlled territory. Why did the TSK choose to proceed over the bridge and then return through ISIS controlled territory? Here is the route
    Link:http://turkeywonk.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/2945/

    The map below shows the entire route.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Now there is a video showing the Turkish convoy returning via ISIS controlled land, I expect the big black flag is a sign:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5NWr9rJT19c

    Yesterday source has an update too:http://turkeywonk.wordpress.com/2014...youtube-video/
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  7. #7
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default ISIS, Turkey, NATO and now?

    Responding to ISIL / ISIS advances in Iraq & Syria is complicated by the stance of Turkey, why is complicated. That a NATO member has provided support, even sanctuary is a reminder of how Pakistan (via ISI) followed its national interests over Afghanistan.

    Turkey regards itself as nation that stands as a bridge between Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It has been a longstanding NATO member, which has provided bases to the USA, sometimes with restrictions even a veto on use like today and before in the Second Gulf War.

    A Washington "insider" last week commented that Turkey's stance on ISIS / ISIL as a NATO member was very hard to understand and accept for the USA.

    Today I found two different, complimentary articles:

    a) Turkey’s ISIL crisis is worse than you think:http://america.aljazeera.com/opinion...evantisil.html

    After two years of tolerating the group as it funneled recruits and supplies into Syria, Turkey has come to the realization that the group represents a serious threat to its national security. How did Turkey get into such a predicament?
    b) Turkey and the "Islamic State”:https://www.opendemocracy.net/vicken...state%E2%80%9D

    Turkey is notably reluctant to join a military campaign against ISIS. In fact, Ankara's ambiguity towards the radical Islamist group has deep political as well as historical roots.
    SWC / SWJ has three directly relevant threads:

    1) Turkey in Syria: new flashpoint:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ad.php?t=20263

    2) Why Syrians in Turkey are Not “Refugees” and Why it Matters:http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art...why-it-matters

    3) Turkey mainly, Iraq and the Kurds (2006-2012):http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ead.php?t=3104

    Following the seizure by ISIS of forty plus Turkish diplomats @ Mosul, Turkey refrained from a hostile response. This week the hostages were exchanged for a larger number of ISIS prisoners.

    Some expect this will enable Turkey to change its stance. I am unconvinced. The roots of their stance are deep and criticism can be deflected by their acceptance of millions of refugees, with 130k Kurds this week.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Turkish support - at least 'tolerance' of the Daesh's activities in Turkey and along its borders inside Syria - is related to the general Islamisation of the Turkish society, strongly supported by its government and... well... many of the people who voted for that government:

    For some Turks, Islamic State proves a ‘family-friendly’ draw
    ...Dozens of families are crossing into Syria to live, in hope that extremists’ religious rule will protect children from Western
    influence...

  9. #9
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Turkey: Cautious partner in battle against ISIS

    A short comment from the Australian Lowy Institute:http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/...LCC=769279010&

    The Obama Administration will need to appreciate that Turkey is status conscious, focused on what the ultimate political order in its region will look like, and doesn't take a simplistic view about the sources of Islamist radicalism. These are, in fact, eminently reasonable positions for Turkey to take. It will be up to the US to account for them and be flexible and attentive if it can.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Old news or something new?

    As the Turkish parliament debates renewal of permission for Turkish troops to cross into Iraq and Syria, just by coincidence Tweets that ISIS have moved closer to the tomb:
    Deputy PM Arinc says ISIS militants are advancing on Suleyman Shah tomb in northern Syria.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    A nineteen page Turkish think tank report published today 'Defending the Tomb of Suleyman Shah:Turkey’s Options and Challenges', self-explanatory:http://www.edam.org.tr/Media/IcerikF...nSahReport.pdf
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  12. #12
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default ISIS provoking Turkey

    The paper cited above refer to the tomb's garrison as sixty Turkish SF soldiers in September 2014; which may be in addition to the twentyfive soldiers cited in my first post.

    Numbers matter as it appears ISIS detained half of the garrison yesterday:
    A media activsit 36 Turkish soldiers.....were briefly detained by Islamic State forces on Tuesday night. “The arrest of the Turkish soldiers occurred under the watch of individual elements of IS....But IS released them all Tuesday night and they returned back to their posts.
    Link:http://eaworldview.com/2014/10/syria...ntion/#turkey2

    It's almost as if ISIS want Turkey to intervene. Or charitably a local decision reversed by a higher command.
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    Default Anyone remember the Blank Check...

    The last time anyone issued a blank check the Austrian Empire decided to pick a fight with Serbia...and we all know what happened next. Has Jens Stoltenberg just given the Turks the green light to expand the conflict further? What with them provoking the Syrians a few years ago with some Phantoms and with the shady goings on currently I, for one, am left slightly bemused. Aside from my questioning Turkey's membership in NATO after the Cold War I am not sure assisting one vile Islamic regime against another bunch of Islamic nut-jobs inside a third party's state territory (which is, legally speaking, still the sovereign government...anyone remember the old non-intervention clause of the UN?) is going to benefit anyone or keep the problem localised (shouldn't we be helping the actually victims; Syria and Iraq?). I for one am awaiting a Turkish Gleiwitz ...

    Press conference by incoming NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg
    Our responsibility is ... the basic responsibility is to stand up and be very clear to everyone to protect Turkey - that collective defence, that Article 5 is something which is also going to be applied if Turkey is in any way attacked. That's the reason why we have the Patriot systems deployed in Turkey. And that's the reason why I will underline that when I visit Turkey in the near future. And we plan to continue to have a military presence in Turkey with the Patriot missile systems.

    When it comes to the decision in the Turkish Parliament that's not related to a NATO operation; but that's a national Turkish decision. And I think I will leave that to the Parliament of Turkey to decide.
    Last edited by Tukhachevskii; 10-02-2014 at 02:09 PM.

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    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    Michael Koplow at Foreign Affairs:

    But the chaos on Turkey’s border with Syria threatens to upend [Turkey's stability]. The rise of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has threatened Turkey’s internal balance in a number of ways. But the danger does not come from ISIS itself. Although the group has proved its military bona fides during its rampage through Iraq and Syria, it does not present a serious territorial challenge to Turkey, which has a large NATO-backed army, a modern air force, and the resources to hit back at ISIS should it choose. Rather, it is the follow-on effects of ISIS’ march through the region that may herald a return to the bad old days.
    During the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the we (the West) failed to anticipate the impact of Palestinian refugees on Jordan. And when Jordan expelled them, again there was a failure to understand their impact on Lebanon. And when the Iraq War started, there was a failure to understand the impact of refugees on Syria. And now that Syrian refugees are flowing into Turkey (and fighters in the opposite direction), what will be the impact within Turkey?
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    A good introduction to relations between Turkey and Syria can be found here

    It's quite dated (published in 1989), but some things simply never change.

  16. #16
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Turkey Steps In: A Good Thing?

    A short commentary from The Soufan Group, which covers all points:http://soufangroup.com/tsg-intelbrie...-a-good-thing/
    davidbfpo

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    Default Oh yeah, let's help the Turks because...

    CHP lawmakers accuse Turkish government of 'protecting ISIL and al-Nusra militants'

    AKP Opens a Hospital Only for Jihadists

    Lets not forget that Turkey helped manage the "Jihadi highway" that funneled jihadis and equipment into Syria, or that they were intent on toppling Assad so bad that they encouraged the very idiots who are now, apparently, a threat to them. But what do I know?

    From: ISIS and the Threat to Turkey
    ISIS may have become a security threat to Turkey, but many blame the very existence of this threat on the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) itself. Turkey's open-door policy since the beginning of the Syrian crisis has allowed many Syrians jihadists to freely enter its territory, and Ankara has been accused of turning a blind eye, if not direct support, to foreign jihadists in its territory. Syrian Kurds continue to argue that Turkey provided Sunni jihadists, including ISIS, with arms and sanctuary. They allege that Turkey has done this to counter the Kurdish militant group People's Protection Unit (YPG), which it regards as the Syrian arm of the Kurdish terrorist group that has long plagued Turkey, the Kurdistan Worker's Party (PKK).

    It's not only foreigners who fault the Turkish government on this issue. In an address to his party meeting on June 17, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, Turkey's main opposition leader, openly accused Erdogan of supporting ISIS, saying that for the first time in history Turkey has become a country that supports terrorism. "The biggest terror attack in our history was done by al Qaeda in 2003, and yet so many foreign al Qaeda fighters have crossed over to the Middle East from Turkey. We have paid the price for this, and we continue paying it," Kilicdaroglu said. Following the speech, the Republican People's Party (CHP) submitted a proposal to the parliament for an inquiry into ISIS funding by Turkey.

    On the same day, Devlet Bahceli, leader of the Turkish Nationalist Party (MHP), also made a similar speech. Calling the apparent shift in the government's Syria policy the product of "a late confession of remorse," he explained that those who helped and provided support to ISIS in Syria are now primarily responsible for the blood that is being shed. "Unfortunately the AKP is in this mess and it is a rotten ring of this dark hand that has inflamed this ISIS monster. The AKP's Syria policy is the reason why our borders are now filled with radical and savage elements," Bahceli said.
    Last edited by Tukhachevskii; 10-04-2014 at 02:03 AM. Reason: added link and quote to support otherwise unsubstantiated comment

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    Default People need to ask as to why hasn’t ISIS blown up any Ottoman tombs ...

    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    One analyst concludes that:

    Link:http://turkeywonk.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/2945/

    The map below shows the entire route.
    Good question... (regardless of who asked it; I've been wondering that myself)

    "People need to ask as to why hasn’t ISIS blown up any Ottoman tombs anywhere in Syria and Iraq while they destroyed everyone else’s who wasn’t Ottoman?"

  19. #19
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Are other Ottoman era tombs important for Turkey?

    A good question repeated by Tukhachevskii:
    People need to ask as to why hasn’t ISIS blown up any Ottoman tombs anywhere in Syria and Iraq while they destroyed everyone else’s who wasn’t Ottoman?
    The cited source refers to such tombs, but are there any I ask?

    On a quick search I found two other mosques do have tombs, in Deir ez-Zor now held by ISIS and another method has been used:
    The rooms that contain the tombs have been filled with cement
    Link:http://www.worldbulletin.net/haber/1...hreat-in-syria

    As Turkey regards the Suleyman Shah tomb as its own national territory and not another tombs you have an answer. The other Ottoman era tombs are not Turkish territory.
    davidbfpo

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    Council Member AmericanPride's Avatar
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    For the purposes of the North Atlantic Treaty, does an attack by the Islamic State on Turkey constitute an attack on the whole alliance? The U.S. invoked Article V after 9/11... what is the threshold for Turkey to do the same?
    When I am weaker than you, I ask you for freedom because that is according to your principles; when I am stronger than you, I take away your freedom because that is according to my principles. - Louis Veuillot

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