Home | About Us | Archive | Documents | Campaigns & Issues | Links | Contact Us

      Turkey's Destructive and Reactionary Role in the New Era of War and Occupation

      By Janine Solanki

      “This is what we call a fact. This is irrefutable proof that Turkish armed forces shell borderline Syrian settlements with large-caliber artillery systems,” said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Major General Igor Konashenkov at a press conference. The Russian Ministry of Defense provided evidence in the form of publicly available video footage.

      Syria has suffered greatly under five years of a US fomented civil war, the rise of Daesh (ISIS) taking over territory and committing atrocities throughout Syria, and destructive airstrikes by US-led forces including Canada. Already Syria has seen 250,000 of it's people brutally killed, half it's population displaced and over four million registered as refugees.

      The first strike in the new era of war and occupation came on the heels of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, with the US-led war on Afghanistan. Turkey as member of NATO was quick to prove itself as a trusty ally to imperialist forces, participating in the NATO forces occupying Afghanistan and taking command of NATO forces twice between 2002 and 2005, with upwards of 1,300 Turkish soldiers.

      However it was long before this that Turkey opened it's doors to the US. Since the 1950's the US has had foreign military bases in Turkey. These bases were instrumental for launching the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. Today the Incirlik airbase, close to Syria's borders, has swelled to over 5,000 troops and is a launchpad for US airstrikes against Syria, all from Turkey's soil and authorized by the government of Turkey.

      When the US started fomenting the civil war in Syria in 2011, it was with a “no boots on the ground, we're not really involved” hands off policy. On the surface at least. Behind the scenes the US government orchestrated a growing disaster in Syria with the help of it's regional allies, particularly Turkey who shares a long and strategic border with Syria. The government of Turkey willingly lent itself to the needs of US imperialism. The so-called “Free Syrian Army” was harboured in Turkey and freely conducted operations against Syria from within Turkey's borders. “Syrian rebels”, which quickly became an assortment of mercenaries from many different countries, received training, arms and funds in Turkey before being funneled into Syria. These training operations started out covertly and were slowly uncovered. In 2013 US media reported that since 2012 Syrian “moderate rebels” were being trained by the US in Turkey. The Washington Post cited US officials who said that the CIA was preparing to deliver arms to rebel groups in Syria through its bases in Jordan and Turkey.

      Let's remind ourselves what the goal of these actions were at the time. Daesh was not on the scene in 2011, 2012 or 2013. The aim was to overthrow the independent and sovereign government of Bashar Al-Assad, a scenario we had already seen in Libya shortly before, and which resulted in chaos and a destruction of the country. But it was through these years that Daesh was able to grow and thrive on the imperialist-created instability in Syria and Iraq.

      It's ironic that the same strategy that resulted in the rise of Daesh is the same strategy the US is using, again with Turkey's assistance, to “fight Daesh”. On February 19, 2015 Reuters reported “The United States and Turkey signed an agreement on Thursday to train and equip moderate Syrian opposition fighters, and Ankara will provide an equal number of trainers to work alongside their American military counterparts, a U.S. official said.”

      Beyond Turkey's links to training and arming Daesh and other terrorist groups in Syria, more links between Turkey and Daesh are being discovered. Oil convoy routes have been discovered between Daesh-held territory in Syria and Iraq into Turkey, where Turkey's government turns a not-so-blind eye to the smuggled oil being bought and sold through Turkey to the world market. UK-based news source Al-Araby Al-Jadeed (The New Arab) reported that “IS sells Iraqi and Syrian oil for a very low price to Kurdish and Turkish smuggling networks and mafias”… “It is then most frequently transported from Turkey to Israel, via knowing or unknowing middlemen…”

      With such a dangerous track record, it is no wonder the government of Iraq has been so adamant in protesting Turkey's recent incursion in northern Iraq. On December 4th, 2015 Turkey deployed 150-300 soldiers and up to 25 tanks near Mosul in northern Iraq. After Turkey refused Iraq's demands to withdraw the Iraqi government took the issue to the United Nations Security Council, where Iraq's Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari declared that Turkey’s “violation against the borders of a sovereign neighboring state” constitutes a “hostile act” which is in breach of international norms and regulations. Now two months later Turkey still refuses to withdraw it's forces.

      The story is a repeat of Turkey's attacks on Syria. Iraq, like Syria, is engaged in a critical fight against Daesh. Why is Turkey launching attacks against sovereign countries that distract from their fight against Daesh? With this track record it's clear that Turkey, with it's imperialist backers the United States, are on the side of whoever creates more chaos and instability in the region for imperialist forces to profit from. Now this is Daesh, who continues to be fed by it's creators, the US and Turkey. For this crisis to end the US, Canada, NATO, Turkey and all imperialist allies must immediately stop their wars, occupations and interventions, and stop their support for Daesh.

      No to War and Occupation! Yes to Self-Determination!
      Turkey – Hands Off Iraq and Syria!

      Follow Janine Solanki on Twitter:

      Back to Article Listing