by Simon North,
One would think Ottoman Turkey’s atrocities, which Dostoevsky described in A Writer’s Diary, such as putting out children’s eyes out with needles, and then impaling them, are all … water under the bridge (albeit too bloody). Yet the barbaric shooting of the Russian pilot while parachuting over Syria, by Turkmen “militia” (who then expressed their regret for ‘not burning him on the spot’) reminded us that Turkey’s dark past is very much alive in today’s Turkey.
What William Gladstone said about Ottoman Turkey’s atrocities in Bulgaria in the 19th century, can be easily applied to what Turkey has done and is still doing to Syria: ‘Let the Turks now carry away their abuses in the only possible manner, namely by carrying off themselves… one and all, bag and baggage, shall I hope clear out from the province that they have desolated and profaned’.
It was Turkmen “militia” doing the shooting, but Erdogan in Ankara … loaded their guns. When Vladimir Putin told of a ‘stab in the back’ committed by ‘accomplices of terrorists’, it was clear he meant the … Erdogang, which has been adding fuel to the fire in Syria since the onset of the conflict, as well as helping ISIS sell its oil, allowing terrorists to secure the hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to continue destabilizing the Assad government in Syria.
A recent report prepared on behalf of the Norwegian foreign ministry by Rystad Energy, and translated by Zero Hedge, shows that:
large quantities of oil have been smuggled across the border to Turkey from IS-controlled areas in Syria and Iraq. The oil is sent by tankers via smuggling routes across the border and is sold at greatly reduced prices
This follows a story that appeared in the Rojava Report, which appears to show that Turkish Government supported Al-Nusra, al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria, a Sunni Islamist militia fighting against Syrian Government forces with the aim of establishing an Islamist state in the country.
The report features a document obtained by lekolin.org (in Turkish) signed by the Turkish Interior Minister Muammer Güler and addressed to the Hatay governorate, in which the minister commands the local authorities to aid Turkish intelligence in their support of al-Nusra in their cross border operations. According to the report similar letters were also sent to the governorates of Mardin, Urfa and Antep. The report continues:
The letter, dated 15 March 2013, asks that local authorities in the Hatay give their full cooperation to MİT (Turkish National Intelligence Agency) in their support of foreign fighters operating out of bases in Turkey. The letter makes specific reference to the fighters’ countries of origin – most, according to the minister, are from Tunisia and Chechnya. The letter also refers to the fighters as mujahideen and asks the governorates to cooperate in among other things providing accommodation and medical treatment for wounded fighters. Finally the letter asks the governorates to coordinate their efforts with the Religious Ministry and Islamic civil society, which are also aiding the fighters.
As Vladimir Putin himself stated, ISIS is receiving funding from at least 40 countries including G20 members. So, when the likes of David Cameron proclaim, with righteous indignation, that ‘Assad must go’, do they realise who may take his place? Or, perhaps, the British PM simply continues the centuries-old tradition of the Big Game with Russia?
As James Warner (in his ‘Dostoevsky vs. Tolstoy’) pointed out, when William Gladstone, then the leader of the Opposition in Britain, was appalled by Turkish atrocities in Bulgaria and thought England should help drive the Turks out of that country, the then Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli, in a spirit of realpolitik, maintained the official British policy of siding with Turkey against Russia”. But siding with the accomplices of terrorists takes the Big Game to a new “height”.
Cameron said UK’s “co-operation” with Russia (re. Syria) should be with ‘clear eyes and a cold heart. ‘Cold heart’ is nothing new: be it turning a blind eye to Turkish atrocities in Bulgaria in the 19th century, to the Armenian genocide in 1915, or to recent Turkish misdeeds in Syria.
One cannot win the war with ISIS and the Erdogang with a cold heart and a hot head. It should be the other way around, Mr. Cameron.