Could Turkey’s president Erdoğan be ginning up a casus belli in Syria to distract from his domestic problems? Maybe. Here, from Friend of the Gormogons Claire Berlinski, are Ten Things You Need to Know About Turkey. Read them all, but the key one here is:
1. On March 27, the government of Turkey blocked YouTube, less than a week after blacking out Twitter. Ostensibly, this was to prevent the spread of videos that are said to feature the voices of Turkey’s foreign minister, intelligence chief, and a top army general proposing to send the Turkish military into Syria to protect the tomb of Suleiman Shah, the [legendary —ŒV] grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Dynasty.
2. If these tapes are real, Turkey has been considering staging an attack on itself as a pretext to intervene in Syria. Turkey is a member of NATO. Article V of the North Atlantic Treaty establishing the alliance states that members will treat an attack against one member as an attack against all and respond accordingly—up to and including the use of armed force. Were NATO to provide assistance to Turkey, the consequences could be apocalyptic. Among other things, Russia would certainly see this as a NATO aggression.
3. Turkey’s ruling AKP is facing a disaster in Syria. Turkey’s battle with the radical Kurdish-separatist PKK has claimed as many as 40,000 lives since the 1980s.
When Assad pulled his forces away from the border, the PYD (the Syrian analogue to the PKK) assumed control over the Kurdish majority regions, prompting Ankara to attempt to counter them by arming radical Islamist groups and opening its borders to foreign fighters.
The Turks presumed Assad would be toppled quickly, which proved false.
As a result, Turkey now faces both an infuriated Assad and a serious threat from groups like Jabhat al Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al Sham (ISIS).
Following the seizure by ISIS of the Azaz border gate, Ankara reversed course, freezing Al Qaeda bank accounts and shelling ISIS strongholds along the border. But the damage can’t easily be undone.
In conjunction with a vast influx of Syrian refugees, this is now by far the most serious security problem Turkey faces. Since Turkey is in NATO, this is NATO’s problem, too.
Fox News reports:
Jihadists who poured into Syria to help the Free Syrian Army only to turn on them, have threatened to attack the sacred tomb of Suleyman Shah, grandfather of the founder of the Ottoman Empire. The tomb is located inside Syria, in the border city of Aleppo, but the site is considered Turkish territory under a near century-old treaty.
“There is now a threat to that shrine; there are 25 Turkish soldiers currently there and the Turkish government takes this threat seriously because it is Turkish territory,” Sinan Ulgen, a visiting scholar for the Carnegie Europe institute, told Voice of America.
The tomb is guarded by 25 Turkish soldiers, and a Turkish flag flies above it. But with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan increasingly critical of the radical fighters who have joined the war in Syria, tensions have flared.
After the threat, from the radical group Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or ISIS, Erdogan said in a television interview that any attack on the tomb would be considered an attack on Turkey. But Erdogan is under fire in Turkey, after a leaked recording appeared to show him and his son engaged in corruption, and his rivals, who oppose support of the Syrian rebels, have accused the prime minister of trying to provoke a conflict with Syria in order to change the political agenda.
Jenny White, Professor of Anthropology at Boston University and currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Stockholm Institute for Turkish Studies, told FoxNews.com the Turkish government “also has an interest in a firefight to defend the tomb just before Sunday’s local elections.
You’ll want to read the rest of that as well.
Don’t ask impertinent questions like that jackass Adept Lu.