Turkey’s century-old alliance with the West (Europe-US) is weak as a baby since the failed coup attempt of July 15th. Turkey is mad at the United States because it still harbors Fethullah Gulen, the leader of the Gulen cult whose loyals in the army carried out the coup and murdered 246 Turkish civilians and wounded thousands. Gulenist assassin team was also on the hunt for the Turkish President Erdogan on that night but he escaped a narrow 247th execution. Gulen movement was designated as a terrorist organization, FETO-PDY (Fethullah Gulenist Terror Organization - Parallel State Structure) in Turkey in December 2014. Dormancy of the US in extraditing Gulen raises question marks in Turkey regarding the alleged involvement of NATO and CIA in the failed coup. So, apparently the anti-American sentiment will prevail unless the US takes concrete steps ASAP.
Turkish authorities are mad at the EU countries since they haven’t demonstrated any solidarity with the Turkish nation in the post-coup period, never praised the devotion of Turks to democracy and never even condemned the coup attempt satisfactorily. On the contrary, they have only defended the ‘rights’ of the terrorists who butchered civilians on the streets with tanks and machine guns and shamelessly accused Turkey of being harsh in the post-coup punishment. Especially Germany and France were mournful that Erdogan came out of the chaos stronger than ever before.
July 15th Coup, Litmust Test of Turkey’s 21st Century Friends & Foes
‘Having gained nothing out of its alliance with the West’ in Erdogan’s words, Turkey is now developing multi-level and complex ties with Russia which are beyond neighborly relations. Turko-Russian relations were sabotaged a few times when Gulen movement which is remotely controlled by the powers that be shot down the Russian fighter jet in November 24th 2015 and assassinated Russian ambassador to Turkey, Mr. Andre Karlow last week. An all-out Russian-Turkish war was desired but both countries acted patiently and survived both crises.
Let’s skip the preamble and tackle the thorny question of if Erdogan can trust Putin. Before Turkey embraces Russia as its ally for the 21st century, it must bravely ask the following questions and expect solid answers from Russia:
Why did Assad regime, controlled by Putin, withdraw its troops from 5 predominantly Kurdish populated regions in Northern Syria? (Kobane, Al Qamishli, Afrin, Tel Tamer, Al Hasakah)
Why did they allow the Syrian PKK (PYD) to occupy these regions and declare cantons? Did Russia try to sabotage the ‘Solution Process’ between Turkey and PKK by creating this power vacuum in Northern Syria that enticed PKK to go back to its violent factory settings and end its agreement with Turkey?
Why did Russia meet the political delegation of terrorist PKK in Moscow in December 2015 and what promises were made?
Despite emphasizing the territorial integrity of Syria from the very beginning, why didn’t Russia and the Assad regime attack the Syrian PKK that has declared de facto autonomy in Rojava?
Do they get along and maintain neutral relations with Syrian PKK just in case Turkey turns its back to Russia again?
What is special about Russia? Does it offer a new peaceful future to the region or to the world? 1-year bombing campaign especially in Aleppo showed that Russia is as capable and willing as the US in killing Muslim civilians in the Mid East. Yes, they haven’t killed as many as the US but as long as the determination is the same, do the numbers really matter?
We must also ask the following questions to ourselves:
Can Turkey continue its Euphrates Shield Operation in Syria free of headache and get the support it needs from rebel groups as a Russian ally?
Does Turkey take into consideration a possible US-Russia deal on Syria? Sykes-Picot was a secret arrangement; can there be another secret arrangement, this time between Vladimir and Sam? Is all but we see or seem, but a dream within a dream?
Anti-American feelings were always out there since the destruction of Iraq but obviously there is an ever-increasing anti-Russian and anti-Iranian tension in the Sunni Muslim world. How will Turkey convince the Sunni population and manage its relations with the region at a time Muslims started to see Erdogan as a savior caliphate?
Should Turkey stay away from the West completely just because their governments and the media is evil or should it build non-governmental channels and friendships?
It is our duty to ask questions and pray for the best outcomes for our country and the region. President Erdogan’s experience as a statesman and the overwhelming public support behind his political movement will help him construct a bright future for Turkey.
Vakkas Dogantekin, President, TURCA
Twitter: vdogantekin , turcaus