Français | English

Erdoğan can crow because, at this NATO sum­mit, he has just won a diplo­mat­ic vic­to­ry that opens up new hori­zons for him.

In exchange for the lift­ing of his veto on Swe­den and Fin­land join­ing the alliance, he obtained that the West­ern­ers reit­er­ate the hold­ing of the Kur­dis­tan Work­ers Par­ty (PKK) as a ter­ror­ist enti­ty and tar­ring the YPG and “oth­er asso­ci­at­ed orga­ni­za­tions” with the same brush, at least in the two Nordic coun­tries, with min­is­te­r­i­al dec­la­ra­tions to that effect.

Even if these are only the terms of a mem­o­ran­dum signed on June 28th between Turkey, Swe­den and Fin­land, in the wings of the NATO sum­mit, a mem­o­ran­dum that also clas­si­fies the Fetul­lah Gülen orga­ni­za­tion under the label of ter­ror­ist, the very fact that NATO’s sec­re­tary gen­er­al used the oppor­tu­ni­ty to reit­er­ate a recog­ni­tion of the legit­i­ma­cy “of Turkey’s con­cerns over the export of weapons and the fight against ter­ror­ism”, is significant.

The doc­u­ment and the accom­pa­ny­ing dec­la­ra­tions speak of “show­ing sol­i­dar­i­ty with Turkey in the fight against ter­ror­ism in all its guis­es and of not impos­ing restric­tions or embar­gos on defense indus­tries.” These were the two con­di­tions demand­ed by Turkey. This will rapid­ly trans­late into the accep­tance of extra­di­tion demands for­mu­lat­ed by Turkey and the pro­hi­bi­tion of polit­i­cal activ­i­ties by the Kur­dish move­ment, notably for “fund rais­ers” on Swedish and Finnish ter­ri­to­ries. Turkey has already pro­vid­ed a num­ber of extra­di­tion demands.

Note­wor­thy also is the fact all the press releas­es insist in not­ing that Turkey did not use the oppor­tu­ni­ty to for­mu­late “any spe­cif­ic demand” direct­ed toward the Unit­ed States, despite the fact this intro­duces a con­tra­dic­tion with the list­ing as “ter­ror­ist” of Fetul­lah Gülen and his broth­er­hood, since the man is in exile in the USA, and the fact the YPGs were and remain the only trust­wor­thy allies of the Unit­ed States against ISIS in the region.

A “per­ma­nent mech­a­nism” is includ­ed in the agree­ment to fol­low up on the com­mit­ments, and Turkey has made it known it would block the pur­suit of the two Nordic coun­tries’ join­ing NATO should it con­sid­er its demands were not being met in accor­dance with its wishes.

Thus, Erdoğan presents the end of his black­mail as a “vic­to­ry” and a recog­ni­tion. In fact, it is the acknowl­edge­ment of his nui­sance value.

And what if the main issue were elsewhere?

See­ing at a NATO sum­mit a legit­imiz­ing of the so-called “fight against ter­ror­ism” con­duct­ed by Turkey, when it is not hid­ing its inten­tions to seize by force, in vio­la­tion of all agree­ments, anoth­er part of North­ern Syria’s ter­ri­to­ry, calls in ques­tion the future polit­i­cal immo­bil­i­ty of all NATO mem­bers, should Erdoğan car­ry out his plans. Under the excuse of a “buffer zone”, already a very old con­cept, and of tak­ing a por­tion of the Syr­i­an ter­ri­to­ry in order to “relo­cal­ize” the refugees it wish­es to be rid of, Turkey seeks in fact to weak­en and divide the North­ern Syr­i­an ter­ri­to­ry, a region it is already depriv­ing of its water resources by hold­ing them back. It also tar­gets one of the main dams.  This is the pur­suit of the project West­ern­ers have already allowed in Afrin, which has since become a lair for jihadist fac­tions and  apil­lag­ing zone, as well as one of ter­ror against the pop­u­la­tions who do not sub­mit to it. Access to the essen­tial road known as the M4 and its total con­trol, in vio­la­tion of past agree­ments, is also part of the plans, at a time when Turkey has shown itself unable to car­ry out this con­trol   planned for in the agree­ments around Idlib, leav­ing jihadist fac­tions use it and pros­per for its benefit.

For the time being, only move­ments of jihadist groups affil­i­at­ed with Turkey and aer­i­al bomb­ings by planes or drones are ongo­ing in the cov­et­ed region, but we know how the inva­sion and the seiz­ing of Afrin began. France, among oth­ers, had under­lined at the time “the legit­i­mate right of Turkey to defend its secu­ri­ty.” We are not far from achiev­ing this dur­ing this NATO summit.

Thus, uni­ty in sup­port­ing Ukraine would jus­ti­fy a ter­ri­to­r­i­al attack else­where, espe­cial­ly since Rus­sia, at Bachar’s side, would not direct­ly oppose a Turk­ish inva­sion either.

The rep­re­sen­ta­tives and par­ties in North­ern Syr­ia call for a “aer­i­al exclu­sion zone” in order to pro­tect the pop­u­la­tions. They do so address­ing both the West­ern allies of the coali­tion against ISIS and the Russ­ian Federation.

But in the con­di­tions caused by the war in Ukraine, this appeal is extreme­ly con­tra­dic­to­ry. Con­sid­er­ing a mil­i­tary coop­er­a­tion in order to estab­lish an exclu­sion zone between Rus­sia and the Unit­ed States against a NATO mem­ber coun­try, Turkey, is cer­tain­ly a way of point­ing out all the aber­rant aspects of the sit­u­a­tion, but also some­thing of the order of wish­ful think­ing. It is also rely­ing on unscrupu­lous “allies”, all of them old hands at Real Politik.

On the ground, only what is left of the Amer­i­can mil­i­tary forces are aware that this Turk­ish offen­sive may facil­i­tate a major upsurge of ISIS forces, and had the oppor­tu­ni­ty to say so by the voice of its mil­i­tary, notably at the time of the attack against the Has­sake prison.

France, embroiled in its refusal to repa­tri­ate women, chil­dren, but also ter­ror­ist crim­i­nals from its own coun­try, crim­i­nals cur­rent­ly guard­ed by North­ern Syr­i­an author­i­ties, clear­ly does not mea­sure the dan­ger involved, and pur­sues its pol­i­cy of coop­er­a­tion with Turkey, as a direct con­se­quence of the Euro­pean agree­ments on migrants.  One can’t see it play­ing the guardians of the skies, espe­cial­ly since its pres­i­dent is inclined toward friend­li­ness with Turkey over the mat­ter of Ukrain­ian grain.

It is hard to tell at the moment which of the cow­ardices of the West­ern world that will prove most ben­e­fi­cial for Turkey. But there can be no doubt of the way Putin and Rus­sia could take advan­tage of the con­tra­dic­tion on this sec­ondary front, even if its mil­i­tary forces are in no posi­tion to inter­vene massively.

Erdoğan’s will in sat­is­fy­ing his polit­i­cal and mil­i­tary appetites pri­or to next year’s elec­tions could open a Pandora’s box, far from the North­ern coun­tries of Europe search­ing for NATO’s mil­i­tary “secu­ri­ty”.

The pop­u­la­tions of North­ern Syr­ia could see the threats grow heav­ier still, dur­ing this NATO sum­mit, so laden with new trea­sons are the dis­cus­sions with the Turk­ish regime, trea­sons added onto the already con­sum­mat­ed aban­don of the Kurds and their allies after they had fought ISIS.

Translation from French by Renée Lucie Bourges

Sup­port Kedis­tan, MAKE A CONTRIBUTION.

We maintain the “Kedistan tool” as well as its archives. We are fiercely committed to it remaining free of charge, devoid of advertising and with ease of consultation for our readers, even if this has a financial costs, covered up till now by financial contributions (all the authors at Kedistan work on a volunteer basis).
You may use and share Kedistan’s articles and translations, specifying the source and adding a link in order to respect the writer(s) and translator(s) work. Thank you.
Daniel Fleury on FacebookDaniel Fleury on Twitter
Daniel Fleury
Let­tres mod­ernes à l’Université de Tours. Gros mots poli­tiques… Coups d’oeil politiques…