The Turks to ISIS: ‘Let’s Make a Deal’

29/07/2015 13:30

The Turks to ISIS: ‘Let’s Make a Deal’


As tens of thousands of refugees flee the latest ISIS advances, Kurdish politicians in Turkey are accusing Ankara of helping the so-called Islamic State in its blitzkrieg through neighboring Syria. The Daily beast reports.

The accusations echo concerns both inside and outside Turkey that the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has tolerated extremist groups in Syria in the hope that their fighters would speed the downfall of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. But at the same time in a region of confused alliances where it’s increasingly obvious the enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend, Ankara has undermined American efforts to build an anti-ISIS coalition.

The fresh allegations against Erdogan came on the same day that he revealed “diplomatic and political bargaining” with ISIS had freed 46 Turkish and three Iraqi hostages that had been in the hands of the extremists since June. ISIS itself said Turkey had promised not to take part in a U.S.-led coalition that is preparing military strikes against the militants in Syria.

Takva Haber, a Turkish website that often reflects ISIS thinking, said the order to release the Turkish hostages had come directly from ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. “A phase of negotiations, held basically between two states,” had led to the outcome, the website said.

Recognition of ISIS or ISIL as a “state” at any level or in any form is precisely what al-Baghdadi is looking for and U.S. President Barack Obama vehemently opposes.

“ISIL is certainly not a state,” Obama said this month. “It is recognized by no government, nor by the people it subjugates. ISIL is a terrorist organization, pure and simple. And it has no vision other than the slaughter of all who stand in its way.”

Takva Haber begs to differ. Through the hostage negotiations, Turkey had indirectly recognized the ISIS “caliphate,” it said, and suggested that the hostage release was a quid pro quo for Turkey’s refusal to aid the anti-ISIS alliance. “The state of the Turkish republic has taken a stance against a new occupation [of Syria and Iraq] by rejecting participation in the U.S. occupation coalition.”

Erdogan has insisted that no monetary ransom was paid, but he confirmed on Sunday that Turkey’s intelligence service did negotiate with ISIS. Speaking to reporters in Ankara, Erdogan said there were critics accusing Turkey of bargaining with ISIS. “If they are referring to financial bargaining, this is out of the question,” he said. “But if they are referring to a diplomatic bargaining, of course we are talking about a political, diplomatic bargaining. This is a diplomatic victory.”
“Diplomacy” is not normally a word associated with terrorist hostage negotiations.

The Turkish president did not give details about the substance of the arrangements between Turkey’s MIT intelligence service and ISIS. But Emre Uslu, a columnist for the Taraf newspaper and a prominent Erdogan critic, has listed several possible Turkish concessions to ISIS. Among them: Ankara might have assured ISIS that Turkey would not take part in a military campaign against the jihadists, or might have promised help for ISIS’s fight against Syrian Kurds.

“Whoever supports ISIS today could become the target of ISIS attacks tomorrow.”
In recent days ISIS forces have rolled through dozens of mainly Kurdish towns and villages in northeastern Syria. Turkey’s disaster relief agency said on Sunday that in recent days around 100,000 Syrian Kurds had crossed the border near the Syrian town of Ayn al-Arab, known as Kobane in Kurdish. News reports said ISIS fighters were advancing toward Kobane through surrounded villages and were about 10 miles from the town on Sunday.

Kobane is part of an unofficial autonomous region near the Turkish border carved out by Kurds in the power vacuum of the Syrian civil war. ISIS is trying to defeat the Kurds in the region, known as Rojava, and consolidate its own position near the border, where some areas are already under the control of the self-styled “caliphate.” (Smuggling diesel into Turkey is a major source of ISIS revenue.)

The main Kurdish militia in Rojava is the Democratic Union Party (PYD), an offshoot of the Turkish-Kurdish rebel movement known as the PKK. According to news reports, the PKK has sent several hundred fighters from Turkey to Syria to help the PYD against the jihadists.

On Sunday, Turkish security forces blocked Kurds from crossing the border from Turkey into Syria, triggering violent clashes and fresh accusations of cooperation between Turkey and ISIS. Referring to Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), Zubeyde Zumrut, a Kurdish politician from Diyarbakir, Turkey’s main Kurdish city, told a rally on Sunday that “ISIS equals AKP and AKP equals ISIS.”

Kurdish politicians in Turkey say the Ankara government is concerned Kurdish autonomy in Rojava could lead to similar demands on the Turkish side of the border. “We have seen that the state does not help,” says Aysel Tugluk, a Kurdish lawmaker in Turkey’s parliament. She said Ankara should understand that Kurdish autonomy like that practiced in Rojava was actually good for Turkey’s national security, but that helping ISIS was not. “Whoever supports ISIS today could become the target of ISIS attacks tomorrow,” she said.

Ayla Akat Ata, another Kurdish deputy in parliament in Ankara, said she had received reports saying that arms supplies for ISIS had crossed the border from Turkey into Syria by train. She said the weapons were meant for ISIS troops involved in the onslaught on Rojava. Ata wants the government to state officially whether the reports are true or not. There has been no reply yet.

Before Erdogan left for the U.N. General Assembly in New York, where he is scheduled to hold talks with Obama and other leaders, he said on Sunday that his government was helping all refugees coming across the border from Syria and Iraq, regardless of ethnicity or religion. Turkey has already taken in about 1.2 million Syrians and is struggling alongside the U.N. Refugee Agency to care for the new arrivals near Kobane.

Erdogan said he and Obama had discussed the idea to create buffer zones within Syria to house and feed refugees there. The Turkish military has been working on plans for the buffer zones, but it remains unclear whether Turkey itself would take part in securing the areas militarily. Erdogan said on Sunday that the danger to the Turkish refugees had prevented him from accepting demands by Turkey’s western allies for support for the anti-ISIS alliance that Obama wants to forge. But he did not say whether this position would change now that the hostages are free.

Ziya Meral, the Turkey analyst at the Foreign Policy Centre, a think tank in London, told Al-Jazeera that Erdogan was unlikely to opt for a more active role for Turkey in the movement against ISIS. He said Turkey was expecting the U.S. to come up with a plan for the future of Syria and Iraq once ISIS was defeated militarily. “It would be rather naïve to anticipate Turkey to start partaking in a public campaign against ISIS without a robust plan as to what will happen next,” Meral said.


In case you have found a mistake in the text, please send a message to the editor by selecting the mistake and pressing Ctrl-Enter.

Newsfeed

Today, 12:26 Armenia’s government kept all promises given to people: Acting PM Today, 11:51 Oil prices drop as broad market sell-off outweighs supply concerns Today, 11:36 One dead, various injured after train derails in Spain Today, 11:16 Opera and Ballet artist Vahagn Margaryan, 23, dies Today, 11:07 NSC Secretary to depart for Moscow Today, 10:58 Chicago hospital shooting: Medical staff and policeman among four dead Today, 10:39 Human Rights Defender’s office representatives pay undeclared visit to Defense Ministry’s medical hospital Today, 10:27 Zhoghovurd: CSTO secretary general appointment may again be postponed Today, 10:08 All roads trafficable in Armenia 19/11/2018 18:20 Artak Zeynalyan, ICRC delegation head discuss issues relating Armenian captive in Azerbaijan Karen Ghazaryan 19/11/2018 18:03 Rouhani says Iran to continue oil exports and resist U.S. economic war 19/11/2018 17:53 CEC decides under what number political forces to participate in snap parliamentary elections 19/11/2018 17:28 No better Brexit deal available, EU ministers tell Britain 19/11/2018 16:54 Armenia’s PM carries out propaganda week before election campaign officially launches: Armen Ashotyan 19/11/2018 16:47 Stolen Picasso found in Romanian forest revealed as fake 19/11/2018 16:09 Name of MP engaged in big corruption case to be known soon: NSS director 19/11/2018 15:56 No concrete bill on taxing transfers submitted to government: SRC chairman 19/11/2018 15:33 No additional taxes to be applied without public consent: Acting deputy PM 19/11/2018 15:23 Nissan plans to oust Carlos Ghosn over 'misconduct' 19/11/2018 14:42 Mission of state official is to serve people, not have benefits: Acting PM 19/11/2018 14:30 In first Facebook live video Sharmazanov calls to tell truth and move forward by fighting 19/11/2018 14:18 Republican party member calls on people to make weighty and analyzed election 19/11/2018 14:03 Republican party not to allow ruling force divert from program: Artak Davtyan 19/11/2018 13:53 People against sharing own income with state: Vahram Baghdasaryan 19/11/2018 13:37 Republican party to help authorities combat foreign pressures: Artak Zakaryan 19/11/2018 13:27 Armenia’s NA to convene extraordinary sitting on November 21 19/11/2018 13:14 New, third generation banknotes to be put into circulation from November 22 19/11/2018 13:05 Newly presented bill by SRC to harm most insecure cluster of population: Arpine Hovhannisyan 19/11/2018 12:38 Armenia’s acting FM to depart for Strasburg 19/11/2018 12:36 Armenia’s loss of CSTO secretary general’s post expectable: Republican faction head 19/11/2018 12:27 Political revolution accomplished, economic is to follow: Armenia’s acting PM 19/11/2018 12:16 No need of “making up” new taxes everywhere: Tsarukyan faction secretary on SRC idea 19/11/2018 12:06 Armenia’s government to convene extraordinary sitting 19/11/2018 12:04 PAP to try to have utmost representation in NA: Tsarukyan faction secretary 19/11/2018 11:47 Upcoming elections not to mean establishment of democracy in Armenia: ARF-D faction head 19/11/2018 11:34 If Armenia faces problems in CSTO Azerbaijan to be first to make use of it: ARF-D faction head 19/11/2018 11:22 SRC plans to apply mechanism for taxing transfers 19/11/2018 10:45 Artak Zeynalyan’s further tenure depends on election results 19/11/2018 10:37 Stepantsminda-Lars highway open only for passenger transporting vehicles 19/11/2018 10:23 All should be united in country’s defense issues: ex DM 17/11/2018 21:55 Armenia’s acting PM considers him international prosecutor: Belarusian MFA refers to Pashinyan’s statement 17/11/2018 14:25 Stepantsminda-Lars highway closed for all transport means 17/11/2018 14:19 France fuel protest: One dead as 'yellow vest' blockades begin 17/11/2018 14:04 Azerbaijani side violates ceasefire regime along the Line of Contact over 80 times 17/11/2018 13:57 California wildfires: 'More than 1,000 missing' in Camp Fire 17/11/2018 12:38 Republican party sole real opposition to incumbent authorities: Samvel Nikoyan 17/11/2018 11:53 Armenia beats Gibraltar with 6:2 score 17/11/2018 11:35 Armenia’s acting DM sacks military officials in connection with KamAz accident on November 7 17/11/2018 10:51 Jamal Khashoggi: CIA 'blames bin Salman for murder' 17/11/2018 10:27 Past months raise serious concern regarding development of country’s foreign ties: ex DM 16/11/2018 23:28 Armenia’s acting PM, Russian president refer to Lukashenko-Azerbaijani ambassador meeting during phone conversation 16/11/2018 18:16 U.S. experts on Iran sanctions policy visit Armenia 16/11/2018 17:12 Armenia’s acting PM has phone conversation with Russia’s president 16/11/2018 17:10 Crime rate drastically grows in Armenia: NA vice chairman 16/11/2018 15:58 Businessman Samvel Mayrapetyan’s attorney files new petition on changing preventive measure 16/11/2018 15:36 Davit Khazhakyan to head electoral headquarters of Bright Armenia party 16/11/2018 14:46 Armenia’s acting PM visits military unit, follows special tactical drills 16/11/2018 14:30 Armenia’s acting economic development minister, EBRD Armenia office head discuss improvement of business environment in Armenia 16/11/2018 13:57 Audit in Hayastan All-Armenia Fund to be completed soon, shows no losses: Fund’s director 16/11/2018 13:14 During Global Entrepreneurship Week, U.S. Embassy supports Career and Entrepreneurship Fair in Yerevan 16/11/2018 12:59 Armenia’s acting PM applies to President for granting medals to weightlifters Simon Martirosyan and Gor Minasyan 16/11/2018 12:53 Republican party to never become reserved force irrespective of voting results: Sharmazanov 16/11/2018 12:47 NA Staff Head-Secretary General Ara Saghatelyan participates in GIZ international conference 16/11/2018 12:24 Vachagan Ghazaryan has to obey court’s decision, nothing can be done now: attorney 16/11/2018 12:00 Sharmazanov describes today’s voting “most shameful in independent Armenia’s history,” calls to responsibility forces propagating sectarianism and sexual minorities 16/11/2018 11:40 Amnesty should not be viewed as mechanical relieve of penitentiaries only: Armenian Ombudsman 16/11/2018 11:26 On the Initiative of Ucom and IE Business School, Big Data Forum took place 16/11/2018 11:09 Armenian Human Rights Defender demands explanations from law enforcers over Mayrapetyan case 16/11/2018 10:37 U.S. prosecutors get indictment against Wikileaks' Assange: court document 16/11/2018 10:18 California wildfires: Number of missing leaps to 631 16/11/2018 10:02 Zhamanak: Eight MPs from current Tsarukyan faction not included in PAP’s list 15/11/2018 18:48 Kocharyan’s attorney submits to Court of Cassation evidence on how activists shot from behind buses on March 1, 2008 15/11/2018 18:43 Robert Kocharyan’s attorneys to more probably apply to European Court 15/11/2018 18:16 Court of Cassation partially satisfies prosecutor’s appeal on changing preventive measure against Armenia’s second president Robert Kocharyan 15/11/2018 17:53 Court of Cassation consulting over change of preventive measure against Armenia’s second president Robert Kocharyan 15/11/2018 17:48 My Step bloc has no election slogan yet 15/11/2018 17:11 Converse Bank announces 25 percent chashback for students 15/11/2018 17:08 Serzh Sargsyan’s chief bodyguard Vachagan Ghazaryan arrested 15/11/2018 16:47 Chief bodyguard of Armenia’s third president Vachagan Ghazaryan to be arrested again 15/11/2018 16:31 Republican party list consists of principle, strong individuals ready for political fight: Armen Ashotyan 15/11/2018 15:50 Republican faction head nominates in Lori province, hopes for voters’ sensible choice 15/11/2018 15:25 Bright Armenia party to fight for second place in the parliament 15/11/2018 15:10 NA vice speaker convinced in Republican party’s representation in new parliament 15/11/2018 15:04 My Step bloc chooses “Nikol the Prime Minister!” slogan for upcoming elections 15/11/2018 14:43 Monkey kills baby boy in India's Agra 15/11/2018 14:06 Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab resigns over EU agreement 15/11/2018 13:32 Filing criminal case not a verdict yet: SRC chairman on Gazprom Armenia case 15/11/2018 13:23 Armenian, Russian governments continue negotiations over gas tariff 15/11/2018 13:13 Armenian SRC's claims about Gazprom-Armenia company endanger contract on $150 million to be signed with Russian leading bank 15/11/2018 13:00 Armenia’s legislation already bans same-sex marriages, no additional changes necessary: acting deputy minister 15/11/2018 12:20 Government approves proposal on creation of international bureau of examination of aviation accidents and serious incidents 15/11/2018 12:01 Cabinet sittings to be open hence: government approves corresponding bill 15/11/2018 11:54 Government offers NA convene extraordinary session to discuss a number of issues 15/11/2018 11:47 No administrative resources to be used at elections: acting PM 15/11/2018 11:28 Government allocates over 270 million AMD for reconstruction of penitentiaries 15/11/2018 10:51 Tsarukyan faction MP calls on withdrawing bill submitted by Republican lawmaker on bookmaker activity 15/11/2018 10:25 Armenian NA fails to work due to absence of quorum 15/11/2018 10:21 Republican party comes as opposition having on agenda Artsakh's secure future: Vigen Sargsyan 15/11/2018 09:53 Zhamanak: Republican, PAP parties rely on heads of communities 14/11/2018 19:38 Eleven political forces apply for participation in snap parliamentary elections