Turkey’s Relationship with ISIS Proves It Is Deserting Its European Allies - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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#15126720
All of this has been known for years, yet Western powers have remained quiet about Turkey's involvement with Islamist terror because the US and the UK have for a long time used Islamist fighters to destabilize foreign governments. But since the devil's apprentice starts to assume ambitions of his own, it won't be long before he's put down.

BESA Center Perspectives Paper No. 1,772, October 11, 2020

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: ISIS was so successful in 2014 in part because President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey is a vocal supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood. Any distance Erdoğan has placed between himself and ISIS is attributable to pressure from Russia, the US, and Europe, not to his rejection of the group’s Islamist ideology.

In view of Turkey’s increasingly divisive and destabilizing influence in the Middle East, the region’s biggest concern for the West could be President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s burgeoning Islamist tendencies. In order to understand the Turkish role in the threat of ISIS, borne from the Muslim Brotherhood, it is necessary to rewind six years.

2014 marked the year when ISIS became a very real threat to the Middle East. Within one year, the group managed to take over a third of Iraq and half of Syria, with 200,000 fighters under its control. ISIS quickly became successful at producing oil and selling it as an important source of income. It also managed to ensure a constant supply of weapons, ammunition, vehicles, and advanced communication devices.

The ability of ISIS to become a functioning state so quickly is largely due to its relationship with President Erdoğan in Turkey.

ISIS has had strong connections to Turkey over the years, whether through its oil industry or through its willingness to shield wanted members of the Muslim Brotherhood. This “neighborly” relationship was essential to ISIS’s success, and it continues to be reflected in Turkish decisionmaking.

Turkey has been ruled by Erdoğan since 2002. He is a vocal supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, a movement that seeks to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate that applies Islamic sharia law. The Muslim Brotherhood has been linked to many fundamental Islamist organizations.

Not only did President Erdoğan never launch any counterterror operations to disrupt ISIS’s networks or recruitment activities, but he provided it with assistance. Turkish contributions to the flourishing of ISIS were most apparent in these areas:

Money

In 2014, it was reported that ISIS had taken over oil fields in Iraq and Syria and produced large quantities of crude oil to sell, consolidating its grip on oil supplies in the region. They are thought to have transported the oil to Turkey in tankers, whereupon Turkey sold the oil to other countries as if it were from Iraq and Syria and shared some of the proceeds with ISIS. These oil exports were stopped in December 2015 following a Russian bombing of the tankers, but not before ISIS had received millions from oil exports through Turkey. It seems pertinent to mention that Erdoğan’s family was personally involved in the oil business with ISIS.

Volunteers

Thousands of Muslim volunteers who identified with the goals and methods of ISIS went to the Islamic State from Muslim countries, Europe, America, Africa, Australia, and even Israel. The vast majority arrived legally in Turkey and went from there to Syria and Iraq. The Turkish authorities, who were aware that these people were passing through Turkey on their way to join ISIS, did nothing to stop it.

In June 2014, Turkish interior minister Muammar Guler admitted that Hatay was a strategic location for the crossing of mujahideen to Syria and that logistical support for Islamist groups would be increased in that area.

Tactics

It has been widely reported that Turkey’s Intelligence Agency illegally dispatched arms to Syrian jihadists. In August 2014, an ISIS commander told the Washington Post: “Most of the fighters who joined us at the beginning of the war came via Turkey, as did our equipment and supplies.

Turkey also allowed ISIS forces to launch attacks on their opponents from Turkish territory. ISIS forces could have not entered or left Turkey freely without the consent of the Turkish government. Anti-Assad activists reported that ISIS was attacking them from inside Turkey, and a senior Egyptian official indicated in October 2014 that Turkish intelligence was passing satellite imagery and other data to ISIS.

Erdoğan’s reluctance to take a step back and denounce ISIS’s methods of operation has led, in part, to an assumption that Turkey ceased to assist ISIS not because it rejected its ideology but because of pressure exerted on it by Russia, the US, and Europe.

With the increasing parallels drawn between the Islamist extremism of Turkey and Iran, and repeated criticism directed at former US president Barack Obama for being soft on Islamist forces in the region, the US and the EU in particular will have a part to play in deciding what kind of role they assume in the Middle East.

To this day, Turkey is under the influence of Muslim Brotherhood doctrine, which underpins the continued existence of ISIS and shows a lack of concern in Ankara for the group’s acts of violence.

With that said, it is becoming harder for Erdoğan to hide behind his NATO membership as he designs a foreign policy that is less West-oriented and more EU- and US-hostile—a far cry from the political reforms that were once promised for a democratic transition in Turkey. This will have consequences for the country’s regional and international relations as it becomes less and less reliable as a security partner, especially if it chooses to work increasingly with those who fight against the West.

Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar is a senior research associate at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies. He served for 25 years in IDF military intelligence specializing in Syria, Arab political discourse, Arab mass media, Islamic groups, and Israeli Arabs, and is an expert on the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups.

https://besacenter.org/perspectives-papers/turkey-isis-relationship/
#15127022

More than 10 years ago, then-Prime Minister Erdogan made a decisive foreign policy pivot. No longer would Turkey grovel at the gates of the European Union, begging to be let in. Instead, Turkey could once again project regional strength, expand its influence over its former imperial subjects in the East, and become a global force to be reckoned with.

It was an idea that captured the imagination of his popular base, buttressing his bid to maximize the breadth of his powers. Erdogan's allies in Egypt and Syria made huge political gains in the early years of the Arab Spring, which first began in December 2010 and Erdogan's Neo-Ottoman dream appeared to be materializing.

But fast-forward a decade, and the President's allies in the region -- largely groups affiliated with the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood -- are a grossly diminished force. Outside of regional bastions of support in Qatar, Somalia and the Tripoli-based government in war-torn Libya, Erdogan's power projection has left a bitter taste in the mouths of many regional leaders.



https://www.cnn.com/2020/10/11/europe/t ... index.html
#15127026
Atlantis wrote:All of this has been known for years, yet Western powers have remained quiet about Turkey's involvement with Islamist terror because the US and the UK have for a long time used Islamist fighters to destabilize foreign governments. But since the devil's apprentice starts to assume ambitions of his own, it won't be long before he's put down.


Perhaps. But at what cost? At this point, we're just buying time until the inevitable facing of the facts in a broader and definitely military struggle.
#15127234
annatar1914 wrote:Perhaps. But at what cost? At this point, we're just buying time until the inevitable facing of the facts in a broader and definitely military struggle.


Military conflict is the failure of diplomacy. I understand that Internet strategists are impatient and like to see blood flow. Fortunately, most diplomats are more circumspect. Whatever delusion the Turkish leadership may have, there is not a snow ball's chance in hell that Erdogan can rebuild the Ottoman empire. Turkey just doesn't have the economic and/or technological means to compete with the big boys.

In the end, Turkey will have to pay a heavy price both politically and economically for its imperial overreach. The question is just how much pain Turkey will inflict on its neighbors before the whole imperial project collapses. Are we to stand by and see Armenians slaughtered? Mind you, Armenians aren't entirely innocent. Their dreams of a greater Armenia includes the Azerbaijani districts currently occupied by Armenia outside of Nagorno Karabakh. Turkey isn't entirely wrong when it claims that the peace process of the last 30 years has not encouraged Armenia to return the occupied territory.

Russia has the military means to intervene if Armenia proper comes under threat. Russia also has the means to face Turkey's expansionist drive in the Caucasus. For the EU to get in the firing line between Turkey and Russia would be stupid. The EU can yield economic pressure and/or incentives for good behavior, or it can try to mediate. Discretely tightening the economic screws can inflict a lot of pain on Turkey.

The more Turkey pursues its imperial ambitions, the greater the resistance to Turkey will become on all sides. Sending a few hundreds fighters from Syria to Azerbaijan won't make a big difference in military terms, but it has turned the whole world against Turkey. Even Iran has condemned the move.
#15127314
@Atlantis , you replied to my jaundiced view of the situation of the Turks geopolitically that;

Military conflict is the failure of diplomacy. I understand that Internet strategists are impatient and like to see blood flow. Fortunately, most diplomats are more circumspect. Whatever delusion the Turkish leadership may have, there is not a snow ball's chance in hell that Erdogan can rebuild the Ottoman empire. Turkey just doesn't have the economic and/or technological means to compete with the big boys.


The Turks are seeing that Diplomacy is war by other means, just another weapon to be used to get what they want. Plus, they are figuring on catastrophic decline of the ''big boys'' to smooth their way to the seizure of the economic and technological means they need (such as the oil and natural gas fields in the Med.)

In the end, Turkey will have to pay a heavy price both politically and economically for its imperial overreach. The question is just how much pain Turkey will inflict on its neighbors before the whole imperial project collapses.


A great deal of pain. Because there are many people in the Middle East that would join themselves to the Turks in order to revive a Islamic Caliphate.


Are we to stand by and see Armenians slaughtered? Mind you, Armenians aren't entirely innocent. Their dreams of a greater Armenia includes the Azerbaijani districts currently occupied by Armenia outside of Nagorno Karabakh. Turkey isn't entirely wrong when it claims that the peace process of the last 30 years has not encouraged Armenia to return the occupied territory.



Those kind of returns almost always involve the use of military force by an opposing party.

Russia has the military means to intervene if Armenia proper comes under threat. Russia also has the means to face Turkey's expansionist drive in the Caucasus. For the EU to get in the firing line between Turkey and Russia would be stupid. The EU can yield economic pressure and/or incentives for good behavior, or it can try to mediate. Discretely tightening the economic screws can inflict a lot of pain on Turkey.


If they seize the oilfields of the Middle East, the Turks can have sufficient autarky and force the rest of the world to accept their new order of things.

The more Turkey pursues its imperial ambitions, the greater the resistance to Turkey will become on all sides. Sending a few hundreds fighters from Syria to Azerbaijan won't make a big difference in military terms, but it has turned the whole world against Turkey. Even Iran has condemned the move.


Turkey and Iran/Persia have a long history of wars, which is why Iran has only been Shiite since the 1600's as the Safavids wanted to further distinguish their realm from that of the Sunni Ottoman Turkish dominion.

And what can the ''whole world'' do? Some would accept the situation, others would fight it, and some would join into alliances with Turkey.
#15127334

By October 2011, the leadership of the FSA consisting of 60–70 people including commander Riad al-Assad was harbored in an 'officers' camp' in Turkey guarded by the Turkish military.[45] In early November 2011, two FSA units in the Damascus area confronted regime forces.[46] In mid-November, in an effort to weaken the pro-Assad forces, the FSA released a statement which announced that a temporary military council had been formed.[47]

In October 2011, an American official said the Syrian military might have lost perhaps 10,000 to defections.[48] By October, the FSA would start to receive military support from Turkey, who allowed the rebel army to operate its command and headquarters from the country's southern Hatay province close to the Syrian border, and its field command from inside Syria.[49] The FSA would often launch attacks into Syria's northern towns and cities, while using the Turkish side of the border as a safe zone and supply route.



In 2011, The Turkish government provided free passage to defecting Syrian Army fighters and allowed the FSA to operate from a special refugee camp in Southern Turkey near the Syrian border.[143] Turkey would allow the FSA to begin operating in nearby towns and encouraged foreign intervention in the Syrian Civil War.[143]



Prior to September 2012, the Free Syrian Army operated its command and headquarters from Turkey's southern Hatay province close to the Syrian border with field commanders operating inside Syria.[45][250] In September 2012, the FSA announced that it had moved its headquarters to rebel-controlled territory of Idlib Governorate in northern Syria,[251][252] which was later overrun by the Islamic Front in December 2013.[citation needed][253]



https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_Syri ... ia,_others
#15127351
@annatar1914, there is no way that Turkey can "seize the oil fields of the ME". Saddam Hussein came much closer to that than Turkey will ever be. The fact is that, with its belligerence, Turkey does not only alienate the US, Europe and Russia, but also the Arab world. From Egypt, Saudi Arabia to Syria and Iraq, there is hardly a nation in the region that isn't hostile towards the Turkish regime.

Even if it did seize the oil fields; like Saudi Arabia, Turkey does not have the technology to pursue imperial ambitions. I don't know anybody who fully comprehends the role of technology in today's world. Technology is not something you can buy. Unless you develop it yourself, you'll always end up with old technology no matter how much you pay. Aside from the Asian tigers, no country in the world has managed to catch up with Western technology. The entire Muslim world of 1.6 billion people barely achieves 1% of the world's technological innovation. That's the reason for the desperate state of the Muslim world. A repressive regime that drives into exile (external or internal) or imprisons most of its talented minds cannot become a high-tech nation.

Why even lift a finger to fight Turkey if Erdogan drives his country into failure? We might have to pick up the pieces since we don't want a failed state at our periphery.
#15127356
@Atlantis

@annatar1914, there is no way that Turkey can "seize the oil fields of the ME". Saddam Hussein came much closer to that than Turkey will ever be. The fact is that, with its belligerence, Turkey does not only alienate the US, Europe and Russia, but also the Arab world. From Egypt, Saudi Arabia to Syria and Iraq, there is hardly a nation in the region that isn't hostile towards the Turkish regime.


Somehow you're under the idea that military means do not provide opportunities to win, to get one's way, when history (including that of America itself!) is replete with the very opposite lesson.

Even if it did seize the oil fields; like Saudi Arabia, Turkey does not have the technology to pursue imperial ambitions. I don't know anybody who fully comprehends the role of technology in today's world. Technology is not something you can buy. Unless you develop it yourself, you'll always end up with old technology no matter how much you pay. Aside from the Asian tigers, no country in the world has managed to catch up with Western technology. The entire Muslim world of 1.6 billion people barely achieves 1% of the world's technological innovation. That's the reason for the desperate state of the Muslim world. A repressive regime that drives into exile (external or internal) or imprisons most of its talented minds cannot become a high-tech nation.


People (and only more so, Muslims) ''support the strong horse''. As long as they are winning, the Turks will get all the technological help they need-and from Western nations too at that.

Why even lift a finger to fight Turkey if Erdogan drives his country into failure? We might have to pick up the pieces since we don't want a failed state at our periphery.


A cowardly excuse to disguise European complicity in the Turkish adventures.
#15127363
Exactly what I have predicted. Turkey's belligerence is alienating almost every country in the region. We don't have to worry about how to fight Turkey, we need to worry about how to bail-out a failed regime to prevent another failed state destabilizing the region.

Informal Saudi ban on Turkish goods hits global fashion retailers

Spanish label Mango seeks alternative suppliers as made-in-Turkey goods caught in Ankara-Riyadh rivalry

A de facto Saudi ban on Turkish goods has hit global fashion brands in the latest sign of the escalating rivalry between the regional powers.

Saudi Arabia has “banned all imports for made in Turkey products”, an employee at clothing group Mango told Turkish suppliers in an email seen by the Financial Times.

The Spanish company, which is one of a number of European and US fashion retailers with manufacturing facilities in Turkey, said in a statement that its teams “are looking into alternatives to the slowing down of custom processes for products of Turkish origin in Saudi Arabia”.

Mustafa Gultepe, head of Istanbul Apparel Exporters’ Association (IHKIB), said all retailers producing in Turkey and exporting to the Gulf state were affected. “We are talking about all global brands that have stores in Saudi Arabia, produce in Turkey and sell over there,” he told the FT.

Turkish exporters have complained that their products have faced long delays at Saudi customs over the past month. The problems have been viewed by businesses as an attempt by Riyadh and its close ally the United Arab Emirates to punish Ankara for what they deem to be its destabilising interventions in the Arab world.


The trade dispute marks a significant escalation of the quarrel between the regional rivals.

“Anything made in Turkey or coming through Turkey is . . . not allowed in Saudi,” said one person in the Gulf briefed on the issue.

The Saudi government said it had not “placed any restrictions on Turkish goods”, adding that trade between the two countries had not “witnessed any noticeable decline, except for the general impact of the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic”.

$3.2bn
Value of Turkish exports to Saudi Arabia last year. Its imports stood at $1.9bn
In a statement from the government’s media office, Riyadh also said it was committed to free trade and international agreements and treaties.

But this month, Ajlan al-Ajlan, the chairman of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce, called for a boycott of “everything Turkish” in response “to the continued hostility of the Turkish government against our leadership, country and citizens”.

Turkey’s relations with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the Middle East’s two biggest economies, have become ever more fraught as they accuse President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of meddling in Arab affairs and supporting Islamist groups.

The rivals back opposing factions in the civil war in Libya, where Turkey’s military intervention this year led to a string of defeats for the Gulf states’ Libyan proxy, renegade general Khalifa Haftar.

Saudi Arabia has previously sought to use economic measures against governments to apply diplomatic pressure. In 2017, Riyadh and Abu Dhabi spearheaded a regional embargo against Qatar.

Turkey backed Qatar in that dispute, with Mr Erdogan accelerating the deployment of troops to a Qatari base in a show of support for Doha.

Tensions rose further after the murder of Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents at the kingdom’s consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Saudi officials were infuriated by what they saw as Mr Erdogan’s efforts to politicise the journalist’s killing to weaken Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto leader.

On Saturday, eight prominent Turkish business associations published a letter voicing dismay at Saudi Arabia’s “increasingly negative attitude towards our country’s companies”.

They called for a dialogue to resolve the dispute, warning it “will inflict damage on the economies and the people of both countries”.

Turkey is one of the biggest textiles producers in Europe and the Middle East, exporting $17.7bn worth of ready-to-wear clothing in 2019, according to IHKIB. Ankara had a trade surplus with Saudi Arabia last year, exporting goods and services worth $3.2bn, while the value of imports stood at $1.9bn.

Mango, which has almost 50 stores in Saudi Arabia, played down the impact of the restrictions, saying: “This does not represent a big problem for the brand as the production is diversified and flexible, and we are confident we will be able to continue with business under normal circumstances in Saudi Arabia.”

Sweden’s H&M said it was “too early to comment on the most recently communicated trade restrictions and its significance for our business”. Britain’s Marks and Spencer and Spain’s Inditex, which also source some of their products from Turkey and have stores in Saudi Arabia, declined to comment.

Boohoo, a UK-based online retailer that seeks to expand in the Middle East, was working to establish whether its Turkish-made garments would be affected, according to a person briefed on the effort.

Maersk, the world's largest container shipping line, wrote to Turkish clients last month to warn of the growing problems at Saudi customs. It recommended they “take necessary precautions to minimise . . . potential losses”.

The tensions have affected the aviation sector too. Turkish Airlines and Dubai’s Emirates have sought regulatory approval to reopen their popular routes to Dubai and Istanbul, which were closed during the coronavirus pandemic. But both civil aviation authorities have refused to approve the resumption of full services, western officials said.

“It’s an unofficial boycott,” said an Emirati official, adding that the coronavirus pandemic “gives cover” for the move. Turkish Airlines, Turkey’s civil aviation authority and Emirates declined to comment.

So what's *your* take on it?

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