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  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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  2. #2
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default

    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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  3. #3
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    Default

    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.
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  6. #6
    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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    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?"

  8. #8
    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.
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  9. #9
    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...

  10. #10
    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.
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  11. #11
    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

  12. #12
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    An 'interesting' day in regards of Turkey today.

    First the rumours started flying about, US says Turkey OKs use of bases against militants. Then Turkey, Denies/d Reports of Deal for Use of its Bases in Fight Against Islamic State.

    On the contrary, F-16s of the Turkish Air Force (THK) have flown a series of air strikes against PKK bases in northern Iraq, along the border to Turkey, today. With this, the cease-fire between Ankara and the PKK is now dead and they're at war (again).

    These air strikes came in response to wild 'demonstrations' launched by the PKK in various parts of south-eastern Turkey in recent days, and reported re-activation of some of PKK's cells, which resulted not only in quite some material damage, but the death of more than 30 people too.

    And thus, sorry Kobane, but no way are Turks now going to let even a single Kurd refugee within their borders go back to fight in Syria. If you wonder why, remember the rule No. 1 of COIN warfare ('separate insurgents/terrorists/freedom fighters from the population').

    In this place: my hearty congratulations to Obama (plus all the idiots in different Western governments and media, especially so in Germany): man, that's a third conflict in the same zone now.

    You've got a hat-trick!

  13. #13
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Stranger than fiction? Turkey's position has been challenged, now we have this report for March 2014: Wiretaps reveal Turkey's attacks on Syrian regime positions:
    Court documents reveal that last year, when the Syrian opposition captured the Armenian town of Kassab, the Turkish army shelled the Syrian army.
    Link:http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/orig...armenian.html?
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  14. #14
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Turkish enclave (Tomb) is evacuated

    The NYT reports that Turkish forces entered Syria and evacuated the garrison at the tomb and the tomb's contents:
    The Turkish Army launched an operation into Syria to evacuate soldiers guarding the Tomb of Suleyman Shah, which has been besieged by Islamic State militants, and move the tomb’s remains, an official and Turkish news media reported on Sunday.The military then destroyed what was left of the site to prevent the militants from using the enclave, and one soldier was killed by accident during the operation, CNN Turk said Sunday, citing military officials.
    The operation, called “Sah Firat,” began on Saturday and involved a large convoy of tanks and other heavy weaponry that entered Syria through Kobani....
    Link:http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/wo...orts-say.html?

    The BBC has a report, with some footage of the returning Turkish convoy and this:
    Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the remains of Suleyman Shah would be moved elsewhere in Syria.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 02-22-2015 at 12:39 PM. Reason: Copied to the main Syria thread
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  15. #15
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Turkish Withdrawal: The Implications

    A thorough joint commentary by a RUSI SME and 'Turkey Wonk':https://turkeywonk.wordpress.com/201...-implications/

    It is interesting to note the tomb's new home is in the "grey zone" in Syria @ Eshme village; the zone is a narrow area where local rebel groups do not exert full control.

    From the conclusion:
    Turkey, however, has proven yet again that its role in the Syrian conflict must not be overlooked. It has links to all the main actors operating in northern Syria and is able to generally get its way with most of them, albeit with the occasional disagreement. The biggest change appears to be Ankara’s approach to ISIS. Since 2013, Turkey had treated ISIS as an irritant, rather than a major security threat, but the Suleyman Shah operation is the clearest sign to date that this approach is changing.
    They conclude that Turkey's role will remain limited.
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    I'm going to triple post this because it relates to the Iraq, Syria & Turkey threads. Pardon the repetition.

    Just wrote an article on Turkey's decision to join the US led coalition against IS. Three main points to take away:

    1) Turkey is going to follow its own policy which conflicts with the U.S. Obama admini thinks it can change Erdogan's view in the long term while getting right to use Turkish bases in the short. Obama only has little more than a year in office however so Turkey will probably win out in the long run.

    2) Turkey wants to punish the PKK/PYD into submission and make it a client like it's done to the KRG

    3) Finally Turkey wants to give more direct aid to the Syrian rebel groups its supports like Al-Nusra with the Syrian Free Zone.

    Here's the full article

  17. #17
    Council Member CrowBat's Avatar
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    To make things particularly interesting, and all of a sudden, two days ago Turkey has announced that its troops guarding the Shah Suleiman Tomb near Qarah Qawzaq have been held as hostages by the ISIS since June 2014.

    Ironically, local FSyA and YPG units are now attempting an advance in this direction. They should have reached the place yesterday: Syria Kurds, rebels advance into ISIS bastion
    Syrian Kurdish and rebel forces, backed by U.S.-led air strikes, advanced Thursday into Raqqa province, where ISIS has its de facto capital, an activist group said.

    "The YPG [Kurdish People's Protection Units] and rebel forces captured 19 villages in Raqqa province," said the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

    "The U.S.-led international coalition played a key role in the advance, bombing the ISIS positions and forcing its fighters to withdraw," said Observatory director Rami Abdel Rahman.
    ...
    To further increase the irony, YPG spokesman Polat Can (his Twitter account was meanwhile shut down) now claims Turkey officially requested the YPG to rescue its hostages.

  18. #18
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    Default Pentagon Chief: Turkey Needs to Do More to Fight IS

    Pentagon Chief: Turkey Needs to Do More to Fight IS

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
    Read the full post and make any comments at the SWJ Blog.
    This forum is a feed only and is closed to user comments.

  19. #19
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    Default Why is Turkey Attacking the Kurdish Militants Instead of ISIS?

    Why is Turkey Attacking the Kurdish Militants Instead of ISIS?

    Entry Excerpt:



    --------
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  20. #20
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Changing the regional equation

    After a six year hiatus Israel and Turkey are friends again, which will be a lot more than diplomacy:
    The reconciliation deal between Israel and Turkey will see a return to normal diplomatic relations, but ties are unlikely to have the warmth that they did in the past. It is Turkey's growing diplomatic problems - strategic tensions with Russia; difficulties with Europe due to the growing authoritarianism of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan; and above all the failure of Turkey's Syria policy (which has also soured ties with Washington) - that have prompted this move.
    Link:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-36639834


    FP added:
    Netanyahu credited U.S. Vice President Joe Biden for acting as a peace broker between Israel and Turkey.
    Last edited by davidbfpo; 06-27-2016 at 03:21 PM. Reason: 13,532v
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