Turkey has suggested U.S. to conduct a land-based operation against Daesh (ISIS) in the north of Syria. Ankara suggested opening a “second front” immediately after slamming its NATO ally for “hypocrisy” and “double standards.” What most angered Ankara was Washington’s support to Kurdish fighters in Syria.
The Turkish leadership went furious after pictures and document-supported reports emerged proving that U.S. commandos fight alongside with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the northeast of Syria. Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu called it “inadmissible” that U.S. commandos wearing rank insignia of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) outlawed by Turkey assist SDF in the course of the operation against Daesh in Raqqa. One can clearly see on the images from the battlefield that the U.S. Special Operation forces fire from grenade launchers near Fatisa town, Raqqa. A U.S. commando is wearing an YPG patch on one of the images.
As Middle East media report, the Turkish Foreign Ministry sarcastically recommended the U.S. military “to wear the patches of Daesh, al-Nusra and al-Qaeda when they go to other parts of yria and of Boko Haram when they go to Africa.”
“To those who say they don’t consider the YPG to be the same as these terrorist groups, this is our response: this is applying double standards, this is being two-faced,” Cavusoglu added.
Previously, the outspoken critic of the U.S. Administration was President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has a kind of “monopoly” for criticizing Washington and slamming it for hypocrisy. Now even the Turkish Foreign Ministry makes statements that are far from being diplomatic and politically correct. It appears that U.S. will be facing collective criticism now that the government has a new staff headed by Binali Yildirim, who is very loyal to Erdogan. With ex-prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s dismissal, the influence of Erdoğan on the Turkish government has just increased.
Back on topic, the Turkish leadership is right largely when it says U.S. has “two-faces.” The problem is the source of criticism. If an independent think-tank prepared a global rating of political hypocrisy, Turkey would undoubtedly rank among the top three, if not the first, - somewhere between U.S. and Saudi Arabia.
Here is one of the numerous examples of Turkey’s two-facedness. Let us look at the issue of Syrian Kurds and the Kurdish factor in the Middle East, in general. Setting equal the YPG forces and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) to Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra, Boko Haram and others is not even hypocrisy. It is a slap in the face of the human civilization. YPG units are fighting against Daesh cutthroats, against that gang of “international terrorists,” on their own land. Although YPG’s has ties with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) outlawed in Turkey, it is inadmissible to equate YPG and PKK to Daesh.
The Turkish blames against PKK could be justified, if Ankara did not differentiate the terrorists into good and bad ones. The Turkish and Syrian Kurds are fighting for their national rights, for the right to decide their own political fate. Turkey that hailed the national feelings of its compatriots in the north of Cyprus, of Kosovars in Serbia, of the Muslims of Bosnia and Herzegovina, has been fighting against its Kurds for over 30 years and trying to stop any efforts of the Syrian Kurds to achieve self-government. To that end, Ankara resorts to any methods. It supports the supply routes of the Syrian “Al-Qaeda” and other Jihadist rivals of Daesh (Turkey supports even the “caliphate” fighters in order they fight Kurds, but not terrorize the Turkish towns). Furthermore, Turkey directly involves in the military actions against Kurdish rebels.
About 1,000 Islamic militants were deployed to Aleppo, Syria, within a 1.5-month (April – mid-May) through the Turkish border. The militants were fully equipped and armed, leaving aside the heavy armory and the artillery support from the territory of Turkey. At present, less than half of those 1,000 militants are still alive. Disappointed at the failure of such indirect involvement into the conflict, Turkey’s Armed Forces are gradually shifting to direct military actions deeper into the territory of Syria. Turkish Special Forces have recently attacked Ziyaret, Koran and Yapsê of Kobanê, according to the Kurd Press.
This is an incomplete list of the Turkish leadership’s hypocrisy.
Turkey remembers its allied relations and solidarity with U.S. and other NATO countries only when it is in acute need of military aid, when it needs to deploy the NATO air defense and missile-defense systems on its southern borders, rocket systems to attack Daesh on the border with Syria etc. When it shot down a Russian warplane that was targeting the terrorists in Syria, it harried to the Brussels headquarters of the Alliance asking for help against Russia’s possible retaliation. Once something goes wrong spoiling Ankara’s plans or caprices of its political leadership, U.S. and NATO find themselves in the list of Turkey’s “unreliable partners.”
For instance, blaming U.S. for two-facedness, the Turkish foreign minister also recalled the recent deal with Washington, which would have seen American light multiple rocket launchers deployed along its border with Syria to combat ISIL. Under the deal, the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) (1) was to have been deployed along the Turkish border by the end of May, but U.S. informed Turkey that it would now only happen in August. The Turkish authorities could not miss the chance to frighten Americans with “the consequences” if they keep on it. Ankara hinted that it might change its mind and refuse to provide its Incirlik airbase to U.S. Air Force. Without that air base, U.S. cannot launch any serious operation in the north of Syria.
Nearly every week, Turkey’s Air Force make flights over Greek islands in the Aegean See demonstrating the Athens – its NATO ally – who is “the master in that region.” Meantime, it used the alleged violation of its airspace by the Russian SU-24 to come out as a “victim.”
Erdogan’s administration is bargaining billions from the European Union pretending as a “victim” country that received “more than three million of refugees” from Iran and Syria. It is nothing but a “political bazaar.” Demanding billions to house Syrian refugees, Ankara is destroying villages and towns fighting “Kurdish terrorist” in the southeast of its own territory. About 500,000 residents of the eastern and southeastern provinces of Turkey have been internally displaced during the punitive military operation against Kurdish rebels. Actually, Turkey has created a hotbed of humanitarian crisis in its territory and at the same time asks money from Europe to receive foreign refugees.
The Turkish government hypocritical interpretation of the idea of “terrorism” became evident for Europe when Erdogan started bargaining visa free travel for his citizens. Under Turkish laws, from now on, any local journalist, scholar or public worker can face criminal responsibility under “anti-terrorist law,” if he supports the Turkish Kurds legal rights to fight for their existence.
Turkey supplies ammunition to the Ukrainian punitive forces preparing an attack on Crimea and even hints at possible arms supply to the Kiev regime. Meantime, it calls a hypocrisy an YPG patch on the arm of a U.S. soldier helping Syrian Kurds to fight Daesh.
Erdogan was cadging forgiveness from Israel’s Prime Minister Netanyahu after the Mavi Marmara incident in the East Mediterranean. Eventually, he got it. However, when it came to the apologies to Russia for the shot down Su-24, the Turkish president said he is unsure “what first steps” Moscow expects Turkey to normalize the bilateral relations.
Turkey is building its relations with Azerbaijan on the principle “one nation – two states,” but opposes the similar strategy of the really one nation – Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh. What is it, if not double standards? Turkey claims that parliaments should not discuss what happened “in 1915” in Ottoman Turkey. Quite recently, Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Numan Kurtulmuş has responded to the bill calling for recognition the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Empire submitted to the German Bundestag. He urged lawmakers not to “politicize history.” He said the parliaments must not use historical events in what he called shady deals.
In this light, Mr. Kurtulmuş should be reminded that Turkey is the trendsetter in “politicizing history,” making “shady deals,” and holding parliamentary discussions on “historical events.” It turns out that the Turkish parliament can discuss the “historical events” in the north of Cyprus dating back to 1970s, “genocide of Muslims” in the Balkans, and “genocide of Azerbaijanis” in Karabakh’s Khojalu, but when a European country decides to bring to light the black pages of history, including of its own history, Erdogan’s team immediately blames it for “politicizing historical events.”
These days, the newly appointed Prime Minister Yildirim was also among them who spared no efforts to favor the “boss.” In his words “The events (Genocide of Armenians in Ottoman Turkey - EADaily) were one of (those) ordinary events that can take place in any community, in any country, and which occurred in 1915, within the conditions of World War I.” Actually, the annihilation of 1.5 million of innocent people, representatives of the indigenous population of Western Armenia, was an “ordinary process” for the incumbent authorities of Turkey, like the “collective punishment” of several hundreds of Kurds in Cizre earlier this February and many other war crimes committed by the Turkish punishers against their own population.
The cup of Turkey’s hypocrisy is full. Erdogan’s Turkey is a typical two-faced country. There are many examples when that country distorted the reality and denied the darkest pages of its own history. All this is coupled with frightening of the domestic opponents and blackmailing the foreign partners. The fate of such state formation with innate hypocrisy gene and growing foreign aggression is unenviable and even direful - for the Turkish people, first.
(1) The range of artillery is 40 km (25 miles), while HIMARS has a range of 90 km. The Turkish military say the major task of using these systems is allegedly the liberation of the 98-km section of the border with Syria from Daesh militants.
EADaily’s Middle East Bureau