The Syrianisation of Turkey

Savran, Sungur

Publisher:  RedMed
Date Written:  20/10/2015
Year Published:  2015  
Resource Type:  Unclassified
Cx Number:  CX19802

On 10 October 2015 hundreds of thousands people marching in the streets of Ankara in solidarity with Kurdish people and to stop the civil war were struck with two bombs, which exploded and killed a hundred people and hundreds wounded. In this article the author questions Erdogan's policies over Syria such as finding an excuse to send the Turkish military into Syria, setting up home-grown Islamist militia forces to keep Erdogan in power, to help warring Sunni militia groups in Syria always bear a risk of Syrianisation of Turkey.



The immense catastrophe that struck Turkey in the streets of Ankara, the capital city, on 10 October, when two bombs exploded in the midst of a thronging crowd of what would possibly turn out to be hundreds of thousands of people, leading to the death of an indefinite number of people, in any case exceeding one hundred, and the wounding of hundreds, some still under the risk of death, is a sharp reminder, if any were needed, that this is a country undergoing a severe political crisis. The tragic loss of life, ranging from a nine-year old boy to a seventy-year old woman and involving the deaths of a very high number of young people, has left the working class movement, the broad left, the community of Alevis, the minority religious denomination in Turkey, and the Kurdish people, all of whom were involved in the peace demonstration that was attacked, in profound grief and mourning. Whoever the real perpetrators are, it is the government of the AKP and especially what one would call the inner cabinet serving Recep Tayyip Erdog(an that is responsible for this tragedy. The responsibility could turn out to be direct.

Even if the government has not directly been involved, it is still indisputably responsible by sheer studied neglect. This incident is only a barbaric sequel to a series of actions that first saw bombs exploding in HDP locales or demonstrations in the pre-election period and then the killing by a suicide bomber of 34 Turkish leftists in Suruç on 20 July as a retribution to their solidarity with Kobane, the town in the autonomous Kurdish entity of Rojava inside Syria long held under siege a year ago by ISIL. In none of these cases did the government carry out criminal investigation worthy of the name.

This is not a wanton act of violence. If ISIL is truly involved in the affair, its motives were probably a kind of raising the stakes. The last time when they organised a resounding attack on Turkish soil, Turkey was still underhandedly but in unabashed fashion accommodating the activities of ISIL in Syria. Now the stakes are higher. In a deceptive move, Turkey has opened its Incirlik air base to US war planes bombarding ISIL territory and later joined the coalition put together by the US against the latter. So for ISIL the bar had to be raised in order to convince the Erdog(an camp that this takfiri, Sunni-sectarian organisation is a formidable force that is ready, nonetheless, to join hands with Turkey in the war against the PKK and its ally the PYD, the ruling force in Rojava Kurdistan.

The intervention of the Russian armed forces in Syria has naturally attracted a lot of attention around the world. This act radically alters the concrete situation in Syria and has ramifications for international politics at large. For the purposes of this article, let us circumscribe our comments to the impact of Russian intervention in Syria on Turkey, leaving the more general aspects to other occasions. Russia’s incursion into Syria is much more closely related to Turkish activist interventionism in that country than is generally admitted. It is our opinion that the timing of Russia’s move is closely tied to Erdog(an’s intentions regarding Syria.

Where does this leave the Erdog(an camp? If the elections do not provide them with a majority in parliament, this would again raise the spectre of a parliamentary investigation that would threaten to ruin the whole political future, nay the whole future tout court of Erdog(an. Now the route to salvation through Damascus, i.e a state of war bestowing special powers to his administration, is also closed by the Russian incursion into Syria. The only option left is the Syrianisation of Turkey itself.

Without going into the details of the matter that would inevitably be boring and confusing for the reader uninitiated in the intricacies of Turkish politics, let us quickly provide a panoramic view of the forces thus prepared by the Erdogan camp. The recent attacks have brought forward a new formation called the “Osmanl? Ocaklar?”. The word “ocaklar” refers to the Janissaries of the Ottomans and hence the name of this organisation can best be translated as the Ottoman Corps. This formation was active in attacks on the major secular daily Hurriyet because of its critical coverage of certain aspects of Erdog(an’s policy. It also made its presence felt in the raids by mobs on the buildings of the HDP, the Kurdish parliamentary party, in over 140 locations around Turkey on the night of 8 September.

Viewed from the regional angle, the Syrian civil war is precisely a proxy war between these two camps. Erdog(an is the frontline leader of the Sunni-sectarian camp. To even start to command the allegiance of the rest of the Sunni world, Erdog(an has to win his war for survival inside Turkey. In this he has thrown his lot with the takfiri, Sunni-sectarian forces inside and outside the country. This is leading Turkey to the precipice of Syrianisation.

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