La pensée ne doit jamais se soumettre, ni à un dogme, ni à un parti, ni à une passion, ni à un intérêt, ni à une idée préconçue, ni à quoi que ce soit, si ce n’est aux faits eux-mêmes

Thought must never submit, neither to a dogma, nor to a party, nor to a passion, nor to an interest, nor to a preconceived idea, nor to whatever it may be, save to the facts themselves

Henri Poincaré


Turkey is a rogue state in the truest sense, and its behavior in Syria and Iraq proves this.

Turkey chose to bomb Kurdish militias at the worst possible moment, when much of the world is relying on them to fight back against ISIL/the “Islamic State”

If the US was truly committed to its strategy to support Kurdish fighters against ISIL, it might have chosen to bomb Turkey. This is because Turkey is using its military power not to stop ISIL terrorists, but to kill off the Kurdish fighters doing much of the fighting against ISIL. Such fighters are the primary forces being relied on by the US and its allies to fight on the ground against ISIL.

About a day after Turkey supposedly joined the US-led anti-ISIL coalition backing up the Kurds, Turkey started blowing up Kurds instead of targeting ISIL. Prior to this, commentators had begun speculating that Turkey was adjusting its strategic priorities to become a full-fledged member of this international coalition against ISIL, and that perhaps Turkey might have decided to end its obsessions with eliminating Syrian President Assad and attacking Kurdish fighters. Some even speculated that Turkey was going to reach out to the Kurds and form an alliance with them. In reality, Turkey was only trying to deceive its allies and gain some political cover to start killing the very Kurdish fighters that the Americans have been training.

Turkey has proven that it has no interest in the security or success of other countries or even the NATO alliance that it is a member of, and is driven by selfish nationalist interests that conflict with other NATO members and with the interests of the Syrian and Iraqi peoples including all the Kurds. Ironically, Turkey kept calling for a no-fly zone in Syria, which it believed would allow Turkey to have more cover to meddle inside Syria’s politics and security and give Turkey carte blanche to bomb Kurds in a large strip of territory in northern Syria.

The situation in Syria and Iraq now is absurd. The alliances between states and factions have become so complex and tangled that no party can coordinate any effort without undermining their own allies’ efforts. The US can’t defeat ISIL because its own NATO partners are more interested in defeating the Kurds whom the US was paying and training to defeat ISIL. And while the rest of the coalition focuses on giving the Kurds as much support as possible to battle ISIL, the Turks will be bombing the Kurds and nullifying the effectiveness of the entire American strategy. As soon as they receive their American weapons, they are just as likely to fall prey to Turkish bombs.

In some ways, this type of situation proves that the NATO alliance is a sham and cannot be taken seriously. NATO simply has too many members in different regions of the world for the alliance to possibly act in a coordinated or rational way, and its obsession with gaining even more member states is only going to make this problem worse in the future. Once the situation gets violent, the individual states in the NATO alliance tend to simply fend for themselves and the alliance becomes nothing more than some political noise. Turkey repeatedly calls for NATO emergency meetings, and has done so again recently, as if to try to get some appearance of legitimacy for its attacks against Kurds. This puts the Obama administration in a very difficult situation, ostensibly allied to both the Kurds and the Turks and trying to satisfy both of them that it holds their security to be more important than the other’s.

In any realistic assessment of the conflict, the US and other coalition members would need to consider Turkey an enemy and not a partner in global efforts against ISIL. NATO has proven to be nothing more than a long rope for its members to hang themselves with, as the biggest threats of aggression and wanton destruction in the NATO area come consistently from its own member states and the alliance inhibits possible cooperation against this aggression.


By Harry J. Bentham

HJB Signature and stamp

More from Beliefnet and our partners
previous posts

Americans are overwhelmingly polarized over ongoing presidential election campaigns. The choice is going to be between Donald Trump – an oligarch accused of disregarding the interests of minorities, and Hillary Clinton – an utterly disgraced public servant too unqualified and incompetent to even serve at the lowest possible grade in the US State Department. But, between the two, one has already clearly […]

Whatever you may think of it, everyone – politicians most of all – must respect the Brexit vote. The British people are not a bunch of children who need to be stood in the corner by know-it-all politicians because they voted “wrong”. They have voted, albeit by a slim margin, to no longer be part of the European Union. As far […]

In my experience (oh the irony…), there is a battle of experience vs knowledge. As someone who studied International Relations at university, but has little to no political experience or travel history abroad, I may seem like someone right out of an ivory tower. This would be a good ad hominem against me in a […]

Immanuel Wallerstein asserted in a recent post that the gap between American power and political rhetoric is growing. This can be related to the the Syrian problem at the heart of current US foreign policy. The US is no longer the dominant power in the world. However, it refuses to accept this, International Relations expert Wallerstein wrote at the start of June. […]