Thursday, October 02, 2014

Turkish Treat

"Islamic State treated these hostages in the way they did because they don't want to provoke Ankara."
"If Turkey decided to crack down on the Islamic State's support, recruitment, fundraising and oil-selling networks that run through Turkey, that would have a major impact on Islamic State;'s ability to take and hold territory in Syria and Iraq."
George Readings, Stirling Assynt, London

Precisely so. And Turkey, for its own reasons, kept close to its vest, has offered implicit support to the ISIS group, has seen no reason to crack down on the Islamists, and just incidentally, Turkey has itself turned to the radical end of the spectrum under its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan with his Justice & Development Party. It has been a nice fit for the new Turkey, miles distant from the Ataturkian Turkey of old with its lapsed Western-biased credentials.

Turkey's Erdogan has aligned himself snugly with Qatar in both countries' enthusiastic support of the terrorist group Hamas, which both nations' heads consider to be representative of a responsible, respectable Arab government, 'resisting' the virulent hatred and genocidal military of a neighbouring Jewish State which has no business establishing itself within the sphere of the Arab/Muslim world of the Middle East.

Official Turkey rejects the observation that they have given haven to the fanatical Islamists, pointing out the strides they have made latterly intercepting foreign fighters. The foreign fighters they sought to intercept, needless to say, haven't been Islamic State fighters, but rather Kurds who have been battling the Islamic State, coming to the aid of the Yazidis, threatened with extermination along with the Christians and other minority groups in Iraq by the ISIS/ISIL forces.

The growing political strength and militarization of the Kurds in Syria and in Iraq trouble Turkey greatly, for their influence on Turkish Kurds. Who, together with the Kurds in Iran represent the largest ethnic group in the world today without a sovereign land of their very own despite their traditional place and heritage in the region, thanks to the shambolic Western version of establishing national boundaries.

"We as a country have been the subject of terrorist activities for the past 30 years", stated Cemalettin Hasimi, an adviser to the Turkish prime minister. Responding to an AP reporter's query regarding Turkey's ambivalence respecting the Islamic State borne out by Turkey's refusal to join regional Arab countries in a coalition led by the United States to battle the Islamist menace, Mr. Hasimi snapped "Absolutely no". Which is to say, there is no ambivalence. They know all about fighting terror.

Even if that terror comes in the guise of a militant Kurdish group agitating for sovereignty which Turkey absolutely refuses to consider, since it would mean surrendering a part of their territory to accommodate Kurdish yearnings for a state of their own. When Turkish truck drivers conveying fuel to an Iraqi power station were warned when they delivered their load at Qayara "ISIS took over last night. Empty your trucks and run!" they meant to, but weren't able to.

Turkish truck drivers Ceyhun Ismaloglu, left, and Servet Karakan relax on the grounds of the Qayara Power Station in Iraq, Monday, June 9, 2014. The drivers were kidnapped by Islamic State the following morning and were held captive for three weeks. (photo credit: AP/Ozgur Simsek)
Turkish truck drivers Ceyhun Ismaloglu, left, and Servet Karakan relax on the grounds of the Qayara 
Power Station in Iraq, Monday, June 9, 2014. The drivers were kidnapped by Islamic State the 
following morning and were held captive for three weeks. (photo credit: AP/Ozgur Simsek)

They would have, given the opportunity. The truckers feverishly complied, hoping to outrun the ISIS militia, but it turned out that was impossible. Qayara's security guards, comfortably familiar with the truckers, suddenly pulled on black masks, held up weapons, and banished all thoughts of escape from the minds of the 32 Turkish men, taken as hostages. The trucks were confiscated but it seems that the leader of the ISIS group who'd had the brilliant idea of taking Turks hostage had brought down his superiors' wrath on his head.

So their guard was nothing like what other foreign abductees were subjected to, nor were their conditions all that onerous. They were well fed and hydrated in the summer heat of the area, were given back the keys to the trucks where they could treat themselves to air conditioning sitting in the cabs and view satellite television, and recharge their smartphones. Forbidden to listen to 'sinful' music the truckers were left alone.

And soon afterward, though as one truck driver, Serdar Bayrak, confessed they felt as though "we were guests there", they were released three weeks later with fulsome apologies for any inconvenience they may have suffered. No beheading of Turks.

Trucks pile up on the Turkish side of the Habur Border Gate, separating Turkey from Iraq, Saturday, Sept. 27, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Raphael Satter)
Trucks pile up on the Turkish side of the Habur Border Gate, separating Turkey from Iraq, Saturday, 
Sept. 27, 2014. (photo credit: AP/Raphael Satter)

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