The Song of Istanbul, or——–> Turkish Delight
“Just a few kilometers away from the Turkish border, the war is raging. In the Kurdish city of Kobani, US jets bomb Islamic State positions while the town’s last defenders, equipped with more grit than guns, fight the jihadists on the ground. As the Turkish army impassively watches the deadly battle from its side of the boundary with Syria, it has opened its own mini-front on the outskirts of Suruç, a Turkish border city…………. The scene is prosaic and absurd…… Now that the city is being threatened with destruction by Islamic State Ankara is doing nothing to prevent it, and thus putting the future of Turkish-Kurdish reconciliation in danger — and domestic peace along with it……………”
In our native region we are obsessed with history, especially older history that spans the old Islamic Empire and goes beyond that to the Persian and Egyptian and other civilizations. Maybe it is so because the present is so dismal when compared to the distant past. Thus many Arabs have joked in recent years about a return of another not-too-distant era, a new Ottoman-less Empire with Caliph Erdogan as its leader.
Turkey probably did as much as anybody else to enable the ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front and other terrorist groups, to help them rise and thrive. Turkish help was essential for them to take hold of the Syrian uprising of 2011. It is true that the basic elements, the money, the weapons, and much of the volunteers came from among foreign Wahhabis, from the Persian Gulf to North Africa to Europe. But all these elements could not be of any use unless they reached Syria (and Iraq). Even Senator John McCain could not have snuck into Syria illegally without Turkish cooperation. Thus the role of Turkey in the past three years.
The Erdogan government believed some of the Gulf Arab and Western propaganda about an imminent early fall of the Al Assad regime in 2011. It gambled on that outcome and lost, and it has dug in deeper since. Now it seems that when the dust settles it may lose more than its expansionist Islamist face.
Mohammed Haider Ghuloum