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Kimon
07-24-2015, 06:38 PM
I made a brief mention of the recent change in policy of Turkey in Southpaw's Iran Rapprochement Rant Thread, but it was lost amidst the Beauty and the Beast analysis, and frankly what is happening there is unsettling enough to perhaps be deserving of its own thread. We have obviously long sought to convince the Turks to join the fight against ISIS, or to at least allow us to use Incirlik, which they now have, but had been unable to do so, as they clearly have been if not quietly supportive of ISIS, at the least so much more hostile by contrast towards both Assad and the Kurds (both at home and abroad out of a paranoia of a potential Kurdistan) to have decided that ISIS was useful. The recent suicide bombing in Suruc, murdering 32 peaceful Kurd activists, seemed to catalyze a shift. But it's still unclear whether ISIS was really behind the attack, or at least behind it without complicity within Erdogan's govt. Certainly the PKK (the Kurdish Workers' Party) believe as such, and recently killed two Turkish police officers who they claimed had collaborated in the attack. And while the Turks have started to take part in some bombing missions against ISIS positions in Syria yesterday and today, they also did this:

Jets also carried out strikes against camps of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, according to media reports and a PKK spokesman.

and this:

Members of the youth wing of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and of a far-left group, the Marxist Revolutionary People's Liberation Party Front (DHKP-C), were also detained.

Have we really sold out our only reliable ally in the region, or are we just too naive to see what it is that the Turks and Erdogan really want? This seems a very heavy price for access to Incirlik.

If nothing else it is truly disturbing how far Turkey has fallen in the decade since the rise to prominence of Erdogan's AKP Party. Amazing to think that this was once, and not long ago, a nation that seemed destined for inclusion in the EU. It certainly has gone about as far in the opposite direction as possible.

Here's the article that I pulled the two above quotes from:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33654021

Frenzy
07-24-2015, 11:19 PM
Why do the Turks hate the Kurds?

Daekyras
07-24-2015, 11:36 PM
Why do the Turks hate the Kurds?

I think that they were all part of the ottoman empire.

When that went south a lot of the individual countries/people reformed their own nation.

The kurd's could not do this. As a result the kurds living in Turkey have been trying for year for some sort of autonomy. This has led to the being persecuted as the turks do not wish to "give up" a part of their land...

This is a very simplified version of events but might give you an idea...

Kimon
07-25-2015, 12:26 AM
Why do the Turks hate the Kurds?

There are a lot of Kurds in Turkey. According to wikipedia, who unfortunately has inexact census numbers, there are somewhere between 11 and 15 million Kurds in Turkey. They make up about 15-20% of the total population of Turkey, but are mostly in the mountainous periphery along the borders with Syria, Iraq, and Iran. There are another 5.9-7.9 million in Iran, 4.6 to 6.5 million in Iraq, and 1.3 to 3 million in Syria. They were never given their own nation after the fall of the Ottoman Empire when the Brits drew new lines on the map, but they want one, and that wanting is making Turkey very nervous. They worry far more about the PKK than they do ISIS. After all ISIS and the PKK hate each other. The enemy of my enemy...

Isabel
07-25-2015, 12:58 AM
This is also in the news in the netherlands. We just have to wait and see how the world reacts to it and hope its a one time " error"

GonzoTheGreat
07-25-2015, 04:22 AM
Jets also carried out strikes against camps of the militant Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, according to media reports and a PKK spokesman.The USA promised to protect Iraq. So why didn't US fighters confront and drive off (or shoot down, if necessary) those attacking Turkish planes?


Why do the Turks hate the Kurds?According to Turkish nationalism, everyone in Turkey is a Turk. Thus, legally, there are no Kurds. The Kurds disagree, and this has been a point of trouble ever since the days of Kemal Ataturk.

Kimon
07-25-2015, 11:21 AM
I really wish the State Department would at least make some subtle condemnation of Turkey's attack on the PKK. There had been a ceasefire between the PKK and Turkey since March of 2013, after which the PKK moved most of its forces from Turkey in Northern Iraq, to help the fight against ISIS. Then in Turkey's parliamentary elections in 2015, the HDP, essentially the political wing of the PKK, won 80 seats - there are a total of 550, so not an insignificant proportion. This struggle against ISIS would have seemed an ideal chance for Turkey to show their Kurds that they actually care about and will protect them, both at home and abroad. Give them a sense of connection to the state, rather than seeing the state as the enemy. How does attacking PKK, who is actively fighting ISIS dissuade the Kurds from wanting independence? This is incredibly counterproductive, and stupid. Not that I'm surprised. Erdogan and his AKP Party both have long demonstrated that they are feckless thugs.

Kimon
07-26-2015, 10:52 AM
This is a pathetic response:

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33667427

The US has called on both sides to avoid violence, but stressed that Turkey has the right to defend itself against attacks by Kurdish rebels.
Brett McGurk, the deputy special presidential envoy for the coalition to counter IS said on Twitter: "We urge de-escalation and that both sides remain committed to the peaceful 'solution process' for a just and sustainable peace."
He added: "There is no connection between these airstrikes against PKK and recent understandings to intensify US-Turkey cooperation against ISIL."

Why is it that we insist on sabotaging any chance to stop ISIS? There have been only two forces that have been helpful in this struggle - Iran and the Kurds. With Iran, half our govt wishes to undermine any chance at rapprochement, and seems to consider any dialogue with Tehran is tantamount to a betrayal of Israel. With the Kurds we have first refused to give them their own state, both out of a fear of permanently fracturing an already irreparably broken Iraq and out of fear of antagonizing Turkey, and now, in exchange for access to a useful, but unnecessary airbase, have seemingly turned a blind eye to Turkey sabotaging the mission by prioritizing the destruction of our only real ally in this fight.

Southpaw, if ever there was an issue you (and your lot) should really get behind, it is this, not all that other pointless crap you (and they) keep trying to shill.

GonzoTheGreat
07-26-2015, 11:11 AM
Why is it that we insist on sabotaging any chance to stop ISIS?
ISIS is an American creation. It is the ultimate reason why GWB decided to invade Iraq. It is what thousands of US soldiers (and many times more other people) died to promote. ISIS (the implementation of Saudi ideology, remember) is what the USA has wanted all along.

That may not be what people want to admit, but it fits the facts far better than the idea that the USA is really opposed to ISIS.

Question: is there actually a conflict between ISIS and Israel, or not? So far, they've mostly avoided each other, when on the basis of their rhetoric they should be big enemies.

Kimon
07-26-2015, 11:22 AM
ISIS is an American creation. It is the ultimate reason why GWB decided to invade Iraq. It is what thousands of US soldiers (and many times more other people) died to promote. ISIS (the implementation of Saudi ideology, remember) is what the USA has wanted all along.

That may not be what people want to admit, but it fits the facts far better than the idea that the USA is really opposed to ISIS.



I hope you're just being facetious. There is a vast difference between intent and incompetence.

Question: is there actually a conflict between ISIS and Israel, or not? So far, they've mostly avoided each other, when on the basis of their rhetoric they should be big enemies.

Israel is a bit far afield. If Syria and Lebanon both fall, then there will be, but for now why would there be? ISIS is not a proxy for either Mossad or the CIA. If they work in congress with any foreign govt, it is clear that Turkey is the most likely candidate.

GonzoTheGreat
07-26-2015, 11:51 AM
I hope you're just being facetious. There is a vast difference between intent and incompetence.Yes, there is. But even now, it still isn't clear to me which of those explains the way in which the Iraq invasion was done.
I'll admit that Bush and his crew tried to pretend that none of them had a more-than-two-digit-IQ, but there is a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest that they were actually smarter than at least the average human. Was I fooled by the latter, or were you fooled by the former?

Either way, if the American voters knew in advance that GWB and company were that incompetent, then the blame for the whole mess lies with those who voted for them. If something lasts long enough, then it becomes quite hard to claim that no one had a clue that things were going wrong.


Israel is a bit far afield. If Syria and Lebanon both fall, then there will be, but for now why would there be? ISIS is not a proxy for either Mossad or the CIA. If they work in congress with any foreign govt, it is clear that Turkey is the most likely candidate.The only reason why Israel is far afield is that ISIS has been steering clear of them, and Israel has avoided confronting ISIS at the same time.
Israel and Syria share a border; Israel currently occupies part of Syria*. ISIS is very active throughout Syria and in the wider region, but it hasn't done much against Israel. The most is a couple of rockets fired from Gaza by people claiming to be part of ISIS. But if Greenpeace declared war upon Israel, some of the rocket launching people in the Gaza Strip would suddenly claim to be tree-huggers, so I am not really convinced that those Palestinians are ISIS operatives. Israel has fairly frequently bombed targets in Syria, but it hasn't bothered doing that with ISIS.

Yes, both may be avoiding the other because of tactical considerations only. But Israel keeps calling for harsher sanctions against one of the most effective opponents of ISIS (Iran), which is at least somewhat suspicious. ISIS at the same time is busy fighting against Hezbollah, which supports Assad.

I don't think ISIS is a proxy for any foreign government (not even for my own, though that would definitely be an interesting development), but there are a number of such governments that aren't nearly as displeased about them as common sense would suggest they should be.

* And a bit that according to Syria and Lebanon belongs to Lebanon but which Israel claims it is stealing from Syria.

Kimon
07-26-2015, 12:21 PM
Yes, there is. But even now, it still isn't clear to me which of those explains the way in which the Iraq invasion was done.
I'll admit that Bush and his crew tried to pretend that none of them had a more-than-two-digit-IQ, but there is a lot of circumstantial evidence to suggest that they were actually smarter than at least the average human. Was I fooled by the latter, or were you fooled by the former?



People of above average intelligence can still be dangerously naive and ignorant on certain critical matters. I think they trusted Chalabi too much, and never really understood the underlying tensions in Iraq enough to recognize just how difficult it would be to hold the country together after Saddam was removed. And, while they clearly cooked the books, I don't think you should take that to mean that they weren't true believers. I think that they were too blinded by economic interests and bad intel, and forgot the lessons of WWII (the aftermath, and the need to co-opt defeated enemies) and Vietnam (the difficulty of fighting against a guerrilla force).

Either way, if the American voters knew in advance that GWB and company were that incompetent, then the blame for the whole mess lies with those who voted for them. If something lasts long enough, then it becomes quite hard to claim that no one had a clue that things were going wrong.

No disagreement there.



I don't think ISIS is a proxy for any foreign government (not even for my own, though that would definitely be an interesting development), but there are a number of such governments that aren't nearly as displeased about them as common sense would suggest they should be.



I doubt Israelis are shedding any tears watching Muslims kill each other, but they should be nervous about ISIS. The threat for them just isn't as immediate. It is far more immediate, and actual, than one from Iran, but then it is often difficult to overlook a deep-seated hatred, even if it blinds you to a newer and more dangerous threat. The same is true apparently of Turkey. They hate the Kurds too much to seemingly care about the threat posed by ISIS.

The Unreasoner
07-26-2015, 02:19 PM
Are there still Americans fighting with the Kurds? I know a few went to help on the Turkish border (weren't there a couple in Kobani?), and the American public (when they care at all) support them more than any other group (with the possible exception of the FSA, but Americans love a winner, and the Kurds win). I kind of doubt even Erdogan will be so careless that he bombs any group of Kurds with American fighters present. A no-fly zone might accomplish the same thing, but less politically realistic (did we really need that airport that badly)?

In any case: what is Erdogan really worried about? Kurdistan will in all probability be carved from Syria, not Turkey. Assad looks to be ready to abandon Damascus, so a new (hopefully FSA, but I'm not holding my breath) government can step in and claim legitimacy, and draw new borders. The Druze will probably need to flee west (I don't imagine they'll receive any sympathy or protection from any new government, but the Israelis will probably informally guarantee the safety of any living close to their border), but the Kurds and the FSA are fighting very specific wars against very specific enemies. I don't imagine either will be eager to start another war against the western holdouts (especially when it would almost certainly entail fighting Hezbollah and Israel at the same time).

Kimon
07-27-2015, 09:35 AM
Are there still Americans fighting with the Kurds? I know a few went to help on the Turkish border (weren't there a couple in Kobani?), and the American public (when they care at all) support them more than any other group (with the possible exception of the FSA, but Americans love a winner, and the Kurds win). I kind of doubt even Erdogan will be so careless that he bombs any group of Kurds with American fighters present. A no-fly zone might accomplish the same thing, but less politically realistic (did we really need that airport that badly)?



Not sure, but sounds like the answer is still probably yes.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/06/10/american-fighting-with-kurds-in-syria-killed-in-isis-battle/

As for how likely Erdogan would be to target the YPG (the Syrian Kurds) due to this, I'm not sure that Erdogan isn't just targeting them, and is just claiming that these targets are ISIS.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33675760

The Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG), the armed wing of the main Syrian Kurdish party (PYD), said that Turkish tanks had shelled the Kurdish-held village of Zormikhar inside Syria late on Sunday evening.
It added that, an hour later, one of its vehicles had come "under heavy fire from the Turkish military east of Kobane in the village of Til Findire".

In a statement on Monday, the YPG said: "Instead of targeting IS terrorists' occupied positions, Turkish forces attack our defenders' positions. We urge [the] Turkish leadership to halt this aggression and to follow international guidelines."
A Turkish government official said its military operations sought "to neutralise imminent threats to Turkey's regional security" and was targeting IS in Syria and the Kurdish separatist PKK in Iraq.
"We are investigating claims that the Turkish military engaged positions held by forces other than [IS]," the official said.

Ozymandias
07-27-2015, 09:54 AM
ISIS is an American creation. It is the ultimate reason why GWB decided to invade Iraq. It is what thousands of US soldiers (and many times more other people) died to promote. ISIS (the implementation of Saudi ideology, remember) is what the USA has wanted all along.

That may not be what people want to admit, but it fits the facts far better than the idea that the USA is really opposed to ISIS.

Question: is there actually a conflict between ISIS and Israel, or not? So far, they've mostly avoided each other, when on the basis of their rhetoric they should be big enemies.

Did Southpaw hack your account? He's usually the only one with an opinion this downright stupid.

GonzoTheGreat
07-27-2015, 10:43 AM
Did Southpaw hack your account? He's usually the only one with an opinion this downright stupid.
I know very well that if they lived up to their own propaganda, then ISIS and Israel would be at each other's throats, each attempting to eliminate the other (one for religious reasons, the other because of the religious reasons of the one). But they aren't. That much is blatantly obvious; we just do not hear about thousands of ISIS fighters storming the Israeli positions. Nor do we hear about Israel even considering that possibility; instead Israel objects to the main force in the anti-ISIS coalition.

I think that ISIS knows that attacking Israel wouldn't bring them the power they want, and would instead bring them far more trouble than they would like. So they don't.
I think that Israel knows that ISIS is not a serious issue for them, so they don't worry about it too much. But if that's true (and I do think it is accurate) then there actually is no real threat to Israel anyways, and all their military posturing is aggression, not defensive.

Nazbaque
07-27-2015, 10:53 AM
I know very well that if they lived up to their own propaganda, then ISIS and Israel would be at each other's throats, each attempting to eliminate the other (one for religious reasons, the other because of the religious reasons of the one). But they aren't. That much is blatantly obvious; we just do not hear about thousands of ISIS fighters storming the Israeli positions. Nor do we hear about Israel even considering that possibility; instead Israel objects to the main force in the anti-ISIS coalition.

I think that ISIS knows that attacking Israel wouldn't bring them the power they want, and would instead bring them far more trouble than they would like. So they don't.
I think that Israel knows that ISIS is not a serious issue for them, so they don't worry about it too much. But if that's true (and I do think it is accurate) then there actually is no real threat to Israel anyways, and all their military posturing is aggression, not defensive.

Why do you assume that they think?

Mort
07-27-2015, 11:01 AM
The PKK guerilla is a terrorist organisation. To call them allies is pushing it, is it not?

Kimon
07-27-2015, 11:05 AM
The PKK guerilla is a terrorist organisation. To call them allies is pushing it, is it not?

Keep in mind we also designated Iran and Cuba as terrorists. The designation is sometimes mostly political. As for whether or not they are allies, that is beyond question. They, and all the other Kurds, have been the most reliable allies in this war. Turkey attacking them helps ISIS.

The Unreasoner
07-27-2015, 08:43 PM
Keep in mind we also designated Iran and Cuba as terrorists. The designation is sometimes mostly political. As for whether or not they are allies, that is beyond question. They, and all the other Kurds, have been the most reliable allies in this war. Turkey attacking them helps ISIS.
The PKK are a bit iffy, no? And we need them less than the other Kurds. While I think Erdogan could have used the threat of ISIS to get a meaningful and lasting peace with them (maybe brokered by the Syrian kurds), the line between terrorist and non-terrorist is substantially less blurry here than it would be for Cuba. The main problem, IMO, is that both the Kurds and Turks might ignore distinctions between various Kurdish groups, except as a purely technical matter.

Kimon
07-27-2015, 09:07 PM
The PKK are a bit iffy, no? And we need them less than the other Kurds. While I think Erdogan could have used the threat of ISIS to get a meaningful and lasting peace with them (maybe brokered by the Syrian kurds), the line between terrorist and non-terrorist is substantially less blurry here than it would be for Cuba. The main problem, IMO, is that both the Kurds and Turks might ignore distinctions between various Kurdish groups, except as a purely technical matter.

They're not just attacking the PKK, they've also been attacking the YPG, which, along with Assad, has been the only real resistance to ISIS in Syria. And there still seems to be uncertainty as to whether or not they have actually attacked ISIS at all. The only confirmed attacks that I have seen so far are of PKK or YPG positions. Their sudden entry into the struggle seems a reaction to the YPG successes on the ground in Syria, as they now control almost the entirety of the border between Syria and Turkey.

The only grey area here vis-a-vis terrorist designations, is another recent event - Suruc. A suicide bomber, seemingly assisted by local Turk policemen murdered those 32 Kurd activists, after which the PKK assassinated those Turk police collaborators. Besides that event, things had been largely quiet since the cease-fire two years ago. But how does declaring war on the PKK and YPG as a response accomplish anything but cement Kurdish desires for independence? How does it do anything but assist ISIS by weakening the only force, the Kurds, that was truly pushing them back? The Turks keep mentioning their support for other Opposition Groups in Syria, but who exactly is this? The only sizable forces in the field in Syria are ISIS, the Kurds, and Assad. Al-Nusra? That wouldn't be much better than ISIS, but is beside the point, as this all seems like window-dressing. This has the feel of a pretense to attack and disperse the Kurds. Whether this includes a hidden desire to strengthen ISIS, or merely that they don't care who benefits so long as it's neither the Kurds or Assad, is still unclear. Regardless, their priorities clearly seem counter-productive to a goal of defeating ISIS.

Davian93
07-27-2015, 09:28 PM
On the Turks vs. Kurds issue, I'd say the Turks act far more like the terrorist than the PKK ever has.

Its not exactly as if the Turks have a great history with minorities in their territories.

Kimon
07-27-2015, 10:31 PM
On the Turks vs. Kurds issue, I'd say the Turks act far more like the terrorist than the PKK ever has.

Its not exactly as if the Turks have a great history with minorities in their territories.

Unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence. If ever there was a universal evolutionary survival tactic, it is to identify or create an out-group and designate it as the enemy that needs killing.

GonzoTheGreat
07-28-2015, 04:44 AM
The PKK guerilla is a terrorist organisation. To call them allies is pushing it, is it not?Just as the ANC under Nelson Mandela was a terrorist organisation. And for that reason, for a very long time, our governments supported the Apartheid regime which fought against those terrorists (and invaded some of its neighbouring countries to find more terrorists to fight, for some reason).

Davian93
07-28-2015, 07:31 AM
Unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence. If ever there was a universal evolutionary survival tactic, it is to identify or create an out-group and designate it as the enemy that needs killing.

A very good friend of mine was stationed at Incirlik back in 02 when I was in Bosnia. We would regularly have "no fly" days back then where the Turks grounded us so they could go on search and destroy missions in Kurdistan without any outside eyes.

They have a very bad history of abusing the Kurds.


And the Armenians, etc etc.

Davian93
07-28-2015, 07:31 AM
Just as the ANC under Nelson Mandela was a terrorist organisation. And for that reason, for a very long time, our governments supported the Apartheid regime which fought against those terrorists (and invaded some of its neighbouring countries to find more terrorists to fight, for some reason).

And so were the Sons of Liberty....the difference between freedom fighter and terrorist is typically one's POV.

GonzoTheGreat
07-28-2015, 07:45 AM
And so were the Sons of Liberty....the difference between freedom fighter and terrorist is typically one's POV.If you're feeling cynical: one's business deals.

The Unreasoner
07-28-2015, 02:33 PM
They're not just attacking the PKK, they've also been attacking the YPG, which, along with Assad, has been the only real resistance to ISIS in Syria. And there still seems to be uncertainty as to whether or not they have actually attacked ISIS at all. The only confirmed attacks that I have seen so far are of PKK or YPG positions. Their sudden entry into the struggle seems a reaction to the YPG successes on the ground in Syria, as they now control almost the entirety of the border between Syria and Turkey.

The only grey area here vis-a-vis terrorist designations, is another recent event - Suruc. A suicide bomber, seemingly assisted by local Turk policemen murdered those 32 Kurd activists, after which the PKK assassinated those Turk police collaborators. Besides that event, things had been largely quiet since the cease-fire two years ago. But how does declaring war on the PKK and YPG as a response accomplish anything but cement Kurdish desires for independence? How does it do anything but assist ISIS by weakening the only force, the Kurds, that was truly pushing them back? The Turks keep mentioning their support for other Opposition Groups in Syria, but who exactly is this? The only sizable forces in the field in Syria are ISIS, the Kurds, and Assad. Al-Nusra? That wouldn't be much better than ISIS, but is beside the point, as this all seems like window-dressing. This has the feel of a pretense to attack and disperse the Kurds. Whether this includes a hidden desire to strengthen ISIS, or merely that they don't care who benefits so long as it's neither the Kurds or Assad, is still unclear. Regardless, their priorities clearly seem counter-productive to a goal of defeating ISIS.
I pretty much agree with all of that (and Erdogan is just another brutal dictator), but my point was more about the optics. Cuba on the terrorist list was pretty much a vestigial political point. But the PKK have killed Turkish police. They may have felt they had cause, and their hands are no dirtier than Erdogan's (and quite probably cleaner)... but from a Turkish point of view, there is a strong case to be made that they are terrorists.

Part of me wonders how different the Turkish people are from the Russians. There are Russians who sincerely believe that Putin helped blow up those apartment buildings (which he did) but still support him, because he's 'strong'. The Turks may be similarly forgiving.

Kimon
07-28-2015, 02:51 PM
I pretty much agree with all of that (and Erdogan is just another brutal dictator), but my point was more about the optics. Cuba on the terrorist list was pretty much a vestigial political point. But the PKK have killed Turkish police. They may have felt they had cause, and their hands are no dirtier than Erdogan's (and quite probably cleaner)... but from a Turkish point of view, there is a strong case to be made that they are terrorists.



http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-33689660

Speaking after Mr Erdogan, a spokesman for the ruling AK Party insisted that the peace process with Kurdish militants could continue if "terrorist elements" put down their weapons and left the country.

I might be reading too much into this statement, but it reminds me of the population exchange (along purely religious lines) that ended the hostilities between the Greeks and the Turks. That occurred in 1923, and involved the forced removal of some 1.5 million "Greeks" (Orthodox Christians, many of whom were otherwise more Turk than Greek) in Anatolia to Greece, and of 500,000 Muslims in Greece back to Anatolia. Could the Turks really believe they could force the world to accept a similar removal of the Kurds in Turkey out into Syria or Iraq, creating a Kurdistan that included no Turkish territory?

The Unreasoner
07-28-2015, 03:17 PM
Could the Turks really believe they could force the world to accept a similar removal of the Kurds in Turkey out into Syria or Iraq, creating a Kurdistan that included no Turkish territory?
I think that's exactly what they believe.

Davian93
07-28-2015, 07:12 PM
I think that's exactly what they believe.

Which is stupid and short-sighted given that a large chunk of Kurds live within the borders of Turkey...upwards of 15 million of the 35 million Kurds in the world actually. They'd be better off offering autonomy and then co-opting the moderate Kurds onto their side. All the Kurds want is to be left alone really.

The Unreasoner
07-28-2015, 11:52 PM
Which is stupid and short-sighted given that a large chunk of Kurds live within the borders of Turkey...upwards of 15 million of the 35 million Kurds in the world actually. They'd be better off offering autonomy and then co-opting the moderate Kurds onto their side. All the Kurds want is to be left alone really.
Again, I agree with all of this. But we have millions of illegal immigrants from Latin America in the US, and a significant proportion of Republicans want to not just stop more from coming, but send back all of the ones already here. 'Self-deportation' was pretty thoroughly embraced even by moderates, for a time. Erdogan may think he can make the Kurds want to leave (probably by some objectively horrible incentives). I don't know enough about the leanings within his own party to know if he's trying to rally their support or if it's more about reducing support for his opposition in a disturbingly direct manner, but this all seems fairly straightforward (even expected) when viewed through the lens of Turkish domestic politics.

Davian93
07-29-2015, 08:00 AM
Again, I agree with all of this. But we have millions of illegal immigrants from Latin America in the US, and a significant proportion of Republicans want to not just stop more from coming, but send back all of the ones already here. 'Self-deportation' was pretty thoroughly embraced even by moderates, for a time. Erdogan may think he can make the Kurds want to leave (probably by some objectively horrible incentives). I don't know enough about the leanings within his own party to know if he's trying to rally their support or if it's more about reducing support for his opposition in a disturbingly direct manner, but this all seems fairly straightforward (even expected) when viewed through the lens of Turkish domestic politics.

Key difference here is that these aren't immigrants to Turkey, they've been there for millenia.

GonzoTheGreat
07-29-2015, 08:25 AM
Key difference here is that these aren't immigrants to Turkey, they've been there for millenia.Yes, but the Turks are illegal immigrants who, through use of force, took over the country. Just as happened in the USA, actually, though a few centuries earlier. So the comparison is quite apt.

Davian93
07-29-2015, 08:31 AM
Yes, but the Turks are illegal immigrants who, through use of force, took over the country. Just as happened in the USA, actually, though a few centuries earlier. So the comparison is quite apt.

That's a great point, Gonzo.

Davian93
07-29-2015, 11:10 AM
http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2015/7/28/turkey-at-long-last-strikes-isil-but-muddies-waters.html

Back on topic a bit.

The Unreasoner
07-29-2015, 12:17 PM
Key difference here is that these aren't immigrants to Turkey, they've been there for millenia.
That wasn't really the point I was making. Again, I think we are more or less in full agreement.

My point is that, while removing the Latinos or the Kurds is both economically stupid and totally unethical, it would not surprise me at all if Erdogan wanted to. I'm not nearly as incredulous as Kimon seems to be that he might fully expect and intend a sort of pressured 'self-deportation' to a Syrian Kurdistan. Again, similarly ridiculous ideas have received mainstream political support over here.

The only thing that doesn't make sense to me is the safe zone he wants. It doesn't seem to really help fight ISIS, nor does breaking up the Kurdish territory make it easier for Turkish Kurds to leave. It seems he really considers (all) Kurds a threat, or at least wants to appear that way domestically. I need to read more about the last Turkish election.

GonzoTheGreat
07-29-2015, 12:39 PM
I think that the Turkish government has come to believe its own propaganda. They do not believe that there is any difference between "Kurd" and "ant-Turkish terrorist", therefore they don't believe there are Syrian Kurds or Iraqi Kurds either. So they do indeed consider any Kurd to be a threat to Turkey, and don't want any Kurdish group to get any kind of autonomy.

Thus, if they have to choose between Assad, ISIS and a Kurdish state on their borders, then they'll pick one of the former two, but never the latter.

Kimon
07-29-2015, 01:23 PM
That wasn't really the point I was making. Again, I think we are more or less in full agreement.

My point is that, while removing the Latinos or the Kurds is both economically stupid and totally unethical, it would not surprise me at all if Erdogan wanted to. I'm not nearly as incredulous as Kimon seems to be that he might fully expect and intend a sort of pressured 'self-deportation' to a Syrian Kurdistan. Again, similarly ridiculous ideas have received mainstream political support over here.

The only thing that doesn't make sense to me is the safe zone he wants. It doesn't seem to really help fight ISIS, nor does breaking up the Kurdish territory make it easier for Turkish Kurds to leave. It seems he really considers (all) Kurds a threat, or at least wants to appear that way domestically. I need to read more about the last Turkish election.

The political wing is the HDP. They made their first major foray into Turkish politics in the most recent election, winning 13% of the vote, and 80 seats. The threshold in Turkey is 10%, so it was a risk for them. Fall just short and you get nothing. Their success is definitely part of this nefarious calculus by Erdogan's cabal, but I can't buy that he would ever support the idea of an independent Kurdistan anywhere, be it Syria, Iraq, or certainly not in Turkey. That's why he has forbidden Kurds in Turkey from entering Syria to help their brethren in the fight against ISIS at Kobane.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/08/kobani-isis-turkey-kurds-ypg-syria-erdogan

Yet Kobane fell to the Kurds anyway, clearly against the wishes of Turkey and Erdogan. And that fall, and the continued success of the YPG along the entirety of that border is likely the main cause of this panicked decision to finally enter the fray, albeit to enter it in claim against ISIS, but in reality against all of the Kurd forces. The claims of other opposition forces strikes me as bs, I think he wants to insure that a corridor remains open for re-supply and recruitment for ISIS. Had the entire border fallen to the Kurds, that lifeline to the outside world for ISIS would evaporate. I think we're just too stupid to see what they're really doing.

GonzoTheGreat
07-29-2015, 01:33 PM
I think we're just too stupid to see what they're really doing.No, we aren't. We just aren't important enough to have any influence on what's going on out there.
I suspect that those who could do anything about it do know what is going on as well, but they don't care. To them, ISIS is a convenient opponent, and having it replaced by a Kurdish state would only bring trouble they don't want. So they support Turkey (and ISIS, but that not openly).

Kimon
08-01-2015, 12:14 PM
Here's a taste of the effectiveness of these nebulous other opposition forces, that Turkey seems to prefer - this one trained by us in Turkey, called either Division 30, or maybe the New Syrian Force.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/commander-of-us-backed-rebels-captured-by-al-qaeda-militants-in-syria/2015/07/30/d90aef92-36f4-11e5-9739-170df8af8eb9_story.html

The commander of a U.S.-backed Syrian rebel group has been captured by al-Qaeda militants near the spot north of Aleppo where a new contingent of U.S.-trained Syrian opposition fighters entered the country earlier this month from Turkey, the group said Thursday.

...

But a U.S. official familiar with the training program, who was not authorized to speak publicly on the issue, said that the capture was “definitely a setback” for U.S. and Turkish plans to use Division 30 fighters to help direct airstrikes against Islamic State forces and establish a rebel-controlled safe zone in the area.

Details of the incident were scant and confusing. Officials have said that the U.S. trainees, dubbed the New Syrian Force, were drawn from and returned to Division 30. “We’ve had regular contact with him,” the official familiar with the program said of Hassan. “He’s certainly an ally.” But officials denied that Hassan himself was among those trained.

A U.S. military official said he did not know why Hassan had been captured. “Allegiances change by the hour sometimes,” he said of armed groups fighting in Syria.

Rand al'Fain
08-02-2015, 06:57 PM
Was only a matter of time before the Kurds would hit back at Turkey.

http://news.yahoo.com/2-soldiers-dead-24-wounded-suicide-attack-turkey-042756590.html#

Kimon
08-02-2015, 07:12 PM
Was only a matter of time before the Kurds would hit back at Turkey.

http://news.yahoo.com/2-soldiers-dead-24-wounded-suicide-attack-turkey-042756590.html#

If the PKK really is behind this one, it is a massive mistake on their part. Even the Iraqi Kurds, the only Kurdish force on friendly terms with Turkey, had condemned the Turks for the airstrikes in Northern Iraq due to all the civilian casualties. Far smarter to sit back and let the world be forced to condemn Turkey's actions. This, if it really was them, only serves to validate Turkey's claims. Either way, the only force that benefits from this is ISIS. All of Turkey's efforts have been aimed at the PKK and the YPG (the Syrian Kurds), and at trying to drive a wedge between those two groups and the Iraqi Kurds. Still unclear if they have attacked ISIS at all, certainly anything that they have done there seems like an afterthought and window-dressing by comparison. And I'll be blunt, this was probably the PKK, but I don't trust anything that the Turkish govt says. This tactic, suicide bombing, seems more in line with ISIS than the PKK, and this attack benefits only ISIS and Turkey. Not the PKK. A few years form now when an ISIS warlord calling himself caliph rules in Damascus, we should point to Turkey's entry into this struggle for why that became inevitable.

GonzoTheGreat
08-03-2015, 04:10 AM
In the 1990s the PKK had also carried out a string of suicide bombings, so it isn't really impossible they're behind this one as well.

It does seem quite clear that Turkey supports ISIS, just as Saudi Arabia supports Al Qaeda in Yemen. Neither bothers the USA, for some reason.

Kimon
09-08-2015, 07:39 PM
Surprised it took this long for Erdogan and his propaganda machine to reach this feverish of a pitch, but this was bound to happen eventually...

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34193733

A crowd has attacked the headquarters of Turkey's pro-Kurdish HDP party, amid rising violence between Turkish forces and the militant Kurdish PKK group.
Pictures from the scene appeared to show the HDP building in the capital, Ankara, on fire.


HDP (Peoples' Democratic Party) lawmaker Garo Paylan told Reuters news agency that hundreds of protesters had attacked the building in Ankara.
"Police are just watching, he said. "What's being broken there is our hope of living together."
HDP offices in at least six other Turkish cities were reported to have been attacked and images on social media appeared to show those in the southern resort city of Alanya also on fire.
In Istanbul, pro-government protesters again attacked the offices of the Hurriyet newspaper, smashing windows. An angry crowd had stormed the building on Sunday accusing the newspaper of misquoting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a TV interview.

I'm still not sure what the end game is here. If this was a hundred years ago, the massacres would have already begun. Hard to imagine that Erdogan wants that (it's clear that he wants to break the HDP's political strength in Turkey, break the PKK and YPG, in and out of Turkey, and so ensure that the call for an independent Kurdistan dies, but beyond that? What of all the Kurds living in Turkey? This hostility certainly will not make them more amenable to coexistence in Turkey.), but if he isn't careful the situation may continue to spiral out of hand. At present the mob is just doing what they want, but how long before someone does something truly stupid?

GonzoTheGreat
09-09-2015, 04:42 AM
In Istanbul, pro-government protesters again attacked the offices of the Hurriyet newspaper, smashing windows.Nitpick aimed at the Beeb: since there is no Turkish government (they can't form one because Erdogan doesn't have an absolute majority, which is why they're going to have new elections), those protesters should be called something like "pro-former-government" or the like.

What of all the Kurds living in Turkey?I think that Erdogan believes the official Turkish propaganda: there are no Kurds in Turkey, they are all Turks instead. That is the whole problem they've had ever since the Ottoman Empire started breaking up in the first place.

... but if he isn't careful the situation may continue to spiral out of hand.Like making even more of those non-existent Kurds go to the polls and give their political party an even bigger position in parliament. That would be pretty embarrassing for Erdogan.

At present the mob is just doing what they want, but how long before someone does something truly stupid?Then the Kurdish regions would go up in flames, a military emergency would be declared there, this would make participating in the elections more difficult thus lowering turn out (can't vote if you are stopped at roadblocks by the police before you reach the polling place), and consequently the AK party could regain its majority.
What, precisely, do you think would be the downside for Erdogan in that?

Kimon
09-09-2015, 04:54 PM
I think that Erdogan believes the official Turkish propaganda: there are no Kurds in Turkey, they are all Turks instead. That is the whole problem they've had ever since the Ottoman Empire started breaking up in the first place.

Like making even more of those non-existent Kurds go to the polls and give their political party an even bigger position in parliament. That would be pretty embarrassing for Erdogan.


It seems difficult to get exact census figures, but there are somewhere between 12-20 million Kurds in Turkey. That is a massive range, and considering that the total population of Turkey is just shy of 78 million, their percent of the population is anywhere between 15-25%. The HDP got 13% in the last election, which was both their first time eclipsing the necessary threshold of 10% to get seats in the Turk parliament, and yet still presumably underperforming (whether they really are more than 13% of the voting-age populace even if more than 13% of the total populace is also a possibility that should be considered) their population percentage. In the lead-up to the last election there had been a long and successful ceasefire with the PKK. Likely the Kurds still voted as a block in that election. Certainly it is difficult to imagine them voting as anything but a united block this time, and as a very anti-AKP block. Hardly surprising consider the atrocious way they are being treated by Erdogan and his party. That's a lot of people to disenfranchise, especially not without it being incredibly obvious to international observers.

I find it disappointing, if not at all surprising, that the Republicans spend so much time talking about non-issues like the Iran deal (which was great for us and the world), and Benghazi (which was nothing), and seemingly not at all about real diplomatic disasters, like our handling of Turkey and the Kurds. I miss the days back when the Republicans actually seemed a viable alternative to , or at least not a complete foreign policy disaster in comparison to the Democrats.

Kimon
10-10-2015, 11:48 AM
Seemed like it was just a matter of time until something truly horrific happened again here, and...

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34495161

Two explosions at a peace rally in the Turkish capital Ankara have killed at least 86 people and injured 186, according to officials.
TV footage showed scenes of panic and people lying on the ground covered in blood, amid protest banners.
The blasts took place near the city's central train station as people gathered for a march organised by leftist groups.
The attack is the deadliest of its kind in modern Turkish history.

The rally was demanding an end to the violence between the Kurdish separatist PKK militants and the Turkish government, and had been due to start at 12:00 local time.
The pro-Kurdish HDP party was among those attending, and it said in a statement that it believes its members were the main target of the bombings.
The leader of the HDP has blamed the state for the attack, which he called "a huge massacre", and cancelled all election rallies.
The party has previously blamed the government for colluding in attacks on Kurdish activists, which the government denies.

The Unreasoner
10-10-2015, 05:07 PM
Seemed like it was just a matter of time until something truly horrific happened again here, and...

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34495161
Putin wants to consolidate his political power: 'Hmm, maybe I should bomb some of my own people and blame Chechnya'

Erdogan loses an election: 'Hmm, maybe I should bomb some of my own people and blame ISIS'

Assad faces protests at home: 'Hmm, maybe I should bomb all of my own people, gas the survivors, and let the children starve to death while hoping that if they are lucky enough, they'll get gassed first if it means being able to smell bread once more'


These are the foundations of your peace in Syria.

Kimon
10-10-2015, 05:20 PM
Putin wants to consolidate his political power: 'Hmm, maybe I should bomb some of my own people and blame Chechnya'

Erdogan loses an election: 'Hmm, maybe I should bomb some of my own people and blame ISIS'

Assad faces protests at home: 'Hmm, maybe I should bomb all of my own people, gas the survivors, and let the children starve to death while hoping that if they are lucky enough, they'll get gassed first if it means being able to smell bread once more'


These are the foundations of your peace in Syria.

Unless you want us to send in ground troops and take on not only Assad, but also Russia and Turkey, not sure what your point is.