The Real Story Behind Turkey's US-Backed "War On Terror"

Tyler Durden's picture

A quick Google search for the phrase "Turkey joins ISIS fight" reveals that generally speaking, the media is doing its best to pitch Ankara’s newfound willingness to engage Islamic State militarily as a kind of come-to-Jesus moment for the Erdogan regime.

Here’s the official line, excerpted from the NY Times:

Turkey plunged into the fight against the Islamic State on Thursday, rushing forces into the first direct combat with its militants on the Syrian border and granting permission for American warplanes to use two Turkish air bases for bombarding the group in Syria.


The developments ended a longstanding reluctance by Turkey, a NATO member and an ally of the United States, to play a more aggressive part in halting the Islamic State’s expanding reach in the Middle East. American officials said it carried the potential to strike Islamic State targets with far greater effect because of Turkey’s proximity, which will allow more numerous and frequent bombings and surveillance missions.


Turkey, a vital conduit for the Islamic State’s power base in Syria, had come under increased criticism for its inability — or unwillingness — to halt the flow of foreign fighters and supplies across its 500-mile border.


Up to now, Turkey has placed a priority on dealing with its own restive Kurdish population, which straddles the Syrian border in the southeast, and in the toppling of Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, whom the Turks blame for creating the conditions in his war-ravaged country for the rise of Islamic extremism.


But now that extremism has increasingly menaced Turkey, where 1.5 million Syrian war refugees have also been straining the country. A series of Islamic State attacks on Turks, including a devastating suicide bombing a few days ago that officials have linked to the extremist group, may also have helped accelerate the shift in Turkey’s position.


The agreement was sealed on Wednesday with a phone call between President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey and President Obama, another administration official said.


A senior Defense Department official said recent Islamic State attacks on Turkish targets had played an important role in Turkey’s decision to join the fight against the militant group directly. "Attacks in Turkey are part of the catalyst for them to think about how they get in the game," the official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

But while the attacks may be "part of the catalyst," skeptics (count us among them) doubt whether they are a large part.

In fact, even the most mainstream of news outlets are unable to completely obscure the fact that Turkey’s ISIS "offensive" may amount to nothing more than a smokescreen, as Erdogan launches a renewed effort to crush the PKK and nullify opposition gains won at the ballot box early last month when, for the first time in more than a decade, AKP lost its parliamentary majority.

Coalition building efforts since the election have gone largely nowhere, and in what amounted to a sure sign that some manner of crackdown was likely just around the corner, Erdogan warned on June 21 that "if politicians are unable to sort [it] out, then the people are the only recourse" - a nod to his right under the constitution to call new elections.

Critically, AKP doesn’t need much to push them back over the top in terms of regaining their majority in parliament. Consider the following from WSJ:

Turkey’s government—which lost its parliamentary majority last month— bills its new two-front war against Kurdish militants and Islamic State as a much-overdue reaction to terrorism. But, on the third front of domestic politics, this violence could also help President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his party regain control.


In the June 7 parliamentary elections, Mr. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, or AKP, lost its majority for the first time in 12 years, and has been in coalition talks since. If these negotiations fail in coming weeks, Mr. Erdogan has said he will send the country back to the polls.


A rise in nationalist feelings amid the bloodshed and an unfolding crackdown on the government’s Kurdish political foes could bolster AKP’s chances in such a new election, many analysts say.


A two-percentage point shift from the last election could restore AKP’s absolute majority, making concessions demanded by its potential coalition partners on press freedom, corruption prosecutions and foreign policy unnecessary. This could also allow Mr. Erdogan to proceed with controversial plans to turn Turkey into a presidential republic and solidify his personal power.

The last passage there is critical.

AKP needs but a two percentage point swing in order to pave the way for Erdogan's power grab and there's no better way to stoke a renewed sense of nationalism and turn voters away from HDP than to invent a conflict and then trot out a few casualities as proof of what can happen when Kurdish "terrorists" are emboldened by a victory at the ballot box.

Given this, one could be forgiven for casting a wary eye at the rather convenient series of events that has now culminated in Ankara going back to war with the PKK. Here's a recap: 

NATO representatives met in Brussels on Tuesday after Turkey made a rare Article 4 request which compels treaty parties to convene in the event a member state is of the opinion that its "territorial integrity, political independence or security" is being threatened. 


That’s the case in Turkey, where the security situation has rapidly deteriorated over the past two weeks following a suicide bombing in Suruc (claimed by Islamic State) and the murder of two Turkish policemen in the town of Ceylanpinar (at the hands of the PKK, which claims the officers were cooperating with ISIS). Ankara responded by launching airstrikes against both Islamic State and PKK.

So, ISIS launches a suicide attack and the PKK (whose Syrian affiliate YPG is battling ISIS just across the border) retaliates by killing two Turkish policemen, an event which gives the government an excuse to tighten the screws on the Kurds with virtual impunity under the guise of stepping up its efforts against ISIS.

Better still, the ISIS red herring has allowed Ankara to effectively obtain NATO's blessing for a brutal crackdown on its Kurdish political rivals. To wit, from Salon:

The choreography attaching to the accord authorizing Turkey’s entry into war as a combatant is, as often, so careful and predictable as to be self-evident. On Sunday Ankara announced that it had requested a meeting of NATO ambassadors to consider its new circumstance. The outcome was obvious from the first.


Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s Norwegian secretary-general, suggested Monday that Turkey was unlikely to get "any substantial NATO military support."


This was a straw man: Material support is not what the Erdo?an government wants. In its fight against ISIS and the Kurds—against both, note—it wants “solidarity and support from our NATO allies,” as the foreign ministry in Ankara later made clear.


Legitimacy, in other words. And it got it Tuesday in Brussels, where Stoltenberg announced, "We all stand united in condemning terrorism, in solidarity with Turkey."  See the problem? Not “united against ISIS," but "united in condemning terrorism."


Erdo?an understood. Within hours he declared that no peace process with the Kurds is possible—and then urged parliament to strip legislators with ties to the PKK of immunity from prosecution. An Istanbul source wrote Tuesday afternoon to say that some sitting parliamentarians have already been arrested.

So there you have it - mission accomplished. Erdogan has now secured Western support for his effort to nullify an election result he did not like. 

Of course the most interesting part of the story is that, as noted here on Wednesday, many have long suspected Turkey of cooperating with ISIS and indeed, US Vice President Joe Biden admitted last year that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Turkey had funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to Islamist rebels in Syria that metamorphosed into Islamic State. Specifically, Biden said the following at a question-and-answer session at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government on October 2 of last year:

"What did they do? They poured hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of tons of weapons into anyone who would fight against Assad – except that the people who were being supplied were (Jabhat) Al-Nusra and al-Qaeda and the extremist elements of jihadis coming from other parts of the world."

Biden would later apologize in a phone call to Erdogan and The White House was quick to disavow "any implication that Turkey or other allies and partners in the region had intentionally supplied or facilitated the growth of ISIL or other violent extremists in Syria."

But Biden's apology came across as hollow precisely because in all likelihood, his comments were spot on, with the only irony being that the US did precisely the same thing in terms of "supplying and facilitating" the Syrian "oppposition" and indeed, perhaps that's why the Obama administration was so quick to apologize (it's the whole "throwing stones in glass houses" bit).

 Now let's jump back to the PKK and the Kurds for a moment. Consider the following from Al Jazeera:

"When AK party lost [its] absolute majority [in parliament] on June 7, while HDP won, getting over the 10 percent barrier, the results showed how people started seeing that not every Kurd is a terrorist,"  Ilya U Topper, an Istanbul-based analyst on foreign affairs and democracy for the M'Sur, a Spanish media outlet added.


He noted that HDP was able to perform so well in June's elections because there was peace.


"Two years of peace make people forget bloodshed and give them hope. Now we are back to square one. Kurds are 'terrorists' again," he said. "If elections are repeated, HDP might fall under the barrier and AK party will achieve [an] absolute majority in the elections. The big question is why the PKK accepted that game."

And that is a very good question.

Why would the PKK, whose political affiliate had just won a major victory at the ballot box, suddenly decide that now is the time to break a fragile cease fire, likely knowing that doing so would imperil further political gains and legitimacy for HDP?

Perhaps the answer lies with Erdogan, who may have known that given YPG's fight with ISIS and given the PKK's suspicions regarding Ankara's connections with Islamic State, all it would take is one ISIS-linked suicide attack to set off a chain of events that would culminate in NATO backing a renewed Turkish offensive against the Kurds, which would in turn help Erdogan undermine HDP's popularity ahead of new elections. And perhaps ISIS is more than willing to play along if it means YPG will be weakened in the process.

In the final analysis, Turkey wants Assad out of Syria and that means backing anyone and everyone who is willing to help make that happen (including ISIS) with the exception of the PKK, who Ankara is keen on crushing especially after June's election results. So now, Turkey will use ISIS as an excuse to procure NATO support for a politically motivated rout of Kurdish "terrorists". The West will hope that ISIS will suffer more damage than YPG, Turkey will hope that PKK and, by extension, YPG will suffer more damage than ISIS, and everyone - Ankara, Washington, ISIS, and PKK - will hope the when the dust (and blood) finally settles, Bashar al-Assad will have met a Gaddafi-esque end. 

And all for what, you ask? All for this:

"In 2009 - the same year former French foreign minister Dumas alleges the British began planning operations in Syria - Assad refused to sign a proposed agreement with Qatar that would run a pipeline from the latter's North field, contiguous with Iran's South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, with a view to supply European markets - albeit crucially bypassing Russia." 


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Ignatius's picture

The MIC wanted a new terrorist enemy and they got one.

Way to go, boys.

pods's picture

There was never a doubt in my mind that they could manufacture another one.

After ISIS/ISIL, the next one will be even easier.  

Read some local comments whenever a beheading video is released. 
We are an emotional lot.


DaddyO's picture

Remember the pic Tyler used on this thread, the military jets flying?

Erdogan has been persuaded to see things anew, with promises of new toys...

Uncle Santa Clause is making a list and checking it twice.


new game's picture

plus isis is in many countries, now it can be all the fuck over the mideast, plus no war is declared on any one country, plus plus for the mic. isis is everywhere...war is everywhere a terrorist is hiding, even here in merica. are you a terrorist? friend of a terroist? ha lol, a fucking joke. never ending targets til da dolla dies and funding goes caput...

Chuck Knoblauch's picture

Turkey needs to kick the US covert thugs out of Turkey.

Or kill them.

thunderchief's picture

Grotesque how this all boils down to nothing but money.

falak pema's picture

thats the irrepressible thrill of the lightness of being an actor of  free market capitalism.

BeansMcGreens's picture

1 Timothy 6:10

For the love of money is the root of all evils. Some people in reaching for it have strayed from the faith and stabbed themselves with many pains.

Bill of Rights's picture

War on terror, ya right. More like keep the money flowing...Right Clintons, right Bushes?

38BWD22's picture



Not our fight.  No more wars.  Let the Middle East sort itself out.

The central planners's picture

Might not be our war but are our terrorist and we have the resposibility to pull the strings.

The Delicate Genius's picture
The Delicate Genius (not verified) Jul 30, 2015 2:32 PM

The US will continue bombing Assad and destroying Syrian infrastructure and air dropping supplies to ISIS as they have been.

All part of the plan.

The Oded Yinon plan.


he recommendations to the Israeli government to sabotage the peace process in Palestine are presented by the authors of Clean Break as part of a larger plan to allow Israel to “shape its strategic environment”, by “removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq”, weakening Syria and Lebanon, and finally Iran. When Perle, Feith and Wurmser moved to key positions in the U.S. government, they arranged for the United States to implement the program themselves, without Israel having to pay a single drop of blood. If there are differences between the Clean Break report written for the Israeli government in 1996 and the report Rebuilding America’s Defenses written by the same authors for the U.S. government in 2000, it is not in the program itself, but rather the argued reasons. First, Clean Break does not have Iraq as a threat, but as the weakest of the enemies of Israel, the least dangerous and the easiest to break. In a follow-up to Clean Break, entitled Coping with Crumbling States: A Western and Israeli Balance of Power Strategy for the Levant, Wurmser emphasizes the fragility of Middle East States, particularly Iraq: “the residual unity of the nation is an illusion projected by extreme repression of the state”. Thus the same action of first overthrowing Saddam is recommended to Israel and the United States, but for opposite reasons. The weakness of Iraq, which is the reason for Israel, does not constitute a valid reason for the United States; and so it was therefore necessary to present Iraq to the Americans as a mortal threat to their country. Netanyahu himself authored an article in the Wall Street Journal in September 2002, under the title “The Case for Toppling Saddam”, describing Saddam as “a dictator who is rapidly expanding his arsenal of biological and chemical weapons, who has used these weapons of mass destruction against his subjects and his neighbors, and who is feverishly trying to acquire nuclear weapons”. Nothing of such a threat, however, is mentioned in Israeli internal documents, which also make no mention of any further connection between Iraq and Al-Qaeda, nor even Al-Qaeda in general. The perspective on Iraq in Clean Break was the realistic one, while the motives given America was pure propaganda: by the time American troops moved into Iraq, the country had been ruined by a decade of economic sanctions that had not only rendered its army powerless, but also destroyed its once exemplary education and health care systems, taking the lives, according to UNICEF, of half a million children."

"ISIS" is a word - a label.

It is not necessarily the case that there is one "ISIS" and it is possible, perhaps even probable, that the term has been employed to justify the bombing of secular/nationalist Syrians and Iraqis and Libyans and Yemenite who are fighting the anglo-Zionist/Salafist war machine.

One thing is for sure. Israel's 5th columnists have extensive control over the US Deep State.

And another thing - the government and media are lying to the American public about a US military stratey having nothing to do with democracy, freedom, stability, or US national security, and which an awful lot like a Zionist scheme to remake the ME for Israeli lebensraum and military (and *economic*) dominance.

Consuelo's picture

Indeed it is part of the plan.   You get the Goy donkey to do your dirty work, because after all, he's just a Goy.

However - and not to get all Biblical on the matter, while the U.S. descends into the abyss of its own making, that government over there is going to find it very lonely and extremely perilous in the days ahead.   Funny how the dispensationalist Bible-thumpers over here just can't seem put 2 + 2 together when it comes to their slavish attitude towards the tribe.



The Delicate Genius's picture
The Delicate Genius (not verified) Consuelo Jul 30, 2015 4:04 PM

The Scoffielders?

Christian community to be divided by new section of Israel’s wall

Nothing Christian about them.

They're a death cult brainwashed into worshipping Israel and war instead of The Christ and peace.

falak pema's picture

I must say ZH is quick off the mark :

Hardly had I said that in Greece the  IMF shenanigans to bring down Mutti recalcitrancy, were similar to the expression of US "spoiler" games in Ukraine and Syria, using Erdogan to replace the Saud recalcitrant ally in Sunni Axis; now shaking hands with old foe Iran become "new friend" and co-guarantor of new US fostered Turko-Iran alliance; that we have a ZH post to ram home the same argument. 

Great farts shoot in the same direction. I'm flattered we send off wind in the same direction.

Trust Dumas and the French to be the clever guys who can see behind the Pax Americana 70 year ME scam.

After all, they have been scamming the ME since the glorious Crusades ! 

Don't believe me ?  Remember Saud is real mad at US's Obama on 3 accounts : Shale, Iran and not taking out Assad. This could be a real game changer as the post 2008 Lehman US tries to undo the poisonous legacy of GWB's neo-con Sunni alliance Crusade against Iran and then renegade Saddam. And now King Salman spends his holidays in France...whereas Iran wants desperately to open up Europe (Germany and whoever else can open banking lines to it).

See here : 6370914

Ghordius's picture

+1, falak, did you note Tyler's remark: "

"In 2009 - the same year former French foreign minister Dumas alleges the British began planning operations in Syria - Assad refused to sign a proposed agreement with Qatar that would run a pipeline from the latter's North field, contiguous with Iran's South Pars field, through Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria and on to Turkey, with a view to supply European markets - albeit crucially bypassing Russia."  "

worth repeating! "Great farts shoot in the same direction. I'm flattered we send off wind in the same direction."

kchrisc's picture

Turkey sits on Zion's Israeli pipeline to Europe. They know they have no choice but to play "Calvinball" with Zion, and see if they may pickup  a few points in the process as well.

Liberty is a demand. Tyranny is submission.

The Delicate Genius's picture
The Delicate Genius (not verified) kchrisc Jul 30, 2015 2:46 PM

The Obama Administration Should Stop Lying About Iran
Iran has not been seeking a nuclear bomb.

The Delicate Genius's picture
The Delicate Genius (not verified) The Delicate Genius Jul 30, 2015 3:34 PM

the laptop of death

why fake evidence if you are so sure iran is developing a nuke?

kchrisc's picture

"The Obama Administration Should Stop Lying..."

With respect, but they, like most that have come before them, do not "lie," but "repeat." That is, they lie alright, but using someone else's lie shuffled to them.

Liberty is a demand. Tyranny is submission..

Pancho de Villa's picture
Pancho de Villa (not verified) Jul 30, 2015 3:33 PM

Bievenidos Pavos! Welcome Turkeys! Welcome to Washington DC's Terminal War of Terror! The "Gift" that just Keeps on Giving...  


Can we interest you in some Brand New Weapons of Mass Destruction with which to fight our 'enemies' for us? 

Sorry_about_Dresden's picture

The Russians must be adamant to prevent this pipeline from being built?

Qatar will destroy the whole ME to build their pipeline?

It seems the US State Department has a fatally flawed strategy considering all of the oil reserves being discovered on the American, North and South, hemisphere?

roadhazard's picture

Turkey did not need the US for it's, "come to jesus moment". Internal Turkish politics and Real Threats left only one outcome. About time you clowns started defending yourselves.

Nevsky's picture

Interesting. A couple more details.

Guardian 4 days ago:

One senior western official familiar with the intelligence gathered at the slain leader’s compound said that direct dealings between Turkish officials and ranking Isis members was now “undeniable”.

WAPO March 2015:

The head of a provincial branch of Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has stirred the pot by tweeting that the country should “get ready for the caliphate” of President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an.

Exit Question - since as ISIS in its latest "love" letter to Taliban said there can only be one Caliph. Who is the Caliph?


danepol's picture

Nah ... the problem is not Israel, its Islam.

The Delicate Genius's picture
The Delicate Genius (not verified) danepol Jul 30, 2015 3:36 PM

You're excluding the middle

BOTH Islam and Israel are problems for the civilized peoples of Midgard.

chosen's picture

Israel is on its way out as being a player in the Middle East.  They used to be important.  Now most Americans see Israel as a little fascist apartheid country filled with war criminals. Israel does have 400 nukes, which they always deny having.  But Israel will never get to fire them.

chosen's picture

Turkey takes over the collapsed state of Syria, imposing some order on the current mess.  Iran gets Iraq, except for the part that is Kurdistan.  Turkey positions tanks in the Golan Heights, and eventually obliterates Israel (shades of the old Ottoman Empire).  The Middle East is eventually controlled by three states, Turkey, Iran, and Kurdistan.  They all hate each other, but are not willing to fight about it.  Stability finally arrives in the Middle East with the area dominated by NATO Turkey.

The Delicate Genius's picture
The Delicate Genius (not verified) Jul 30, 2015 3:35 PM

ISIS—the New Israel

US Created The Islamic State (ISIS) for Sake of Israel and Military Industrial Complex: Ex-CIA contractor

Oldrepublic's picture

Mike Whitney posted this yesterday on Counterpunch

The politics of Betrayal Obama backstabs Kurds to appease Turkey   

The Kurds, the largest ethnic group in the world without their own country has been betrayed countless times by the major world powers     



Phillyguy's picture

The quid pro quo for Turkey allowing the US to use the Incirlik Air Base, is that the US will not interfere/oppose Turkey’s bombing of Kurds (who have been some the most effective forces against ISIS)  in N Iraq and Syria, and for Turkey to continue working with ISIS/ISIL/Daesh to get rid of Assad. (Link:

Obviously, this represents a major escalation and is going to intensify ME instability. In addition to directly affecting the Kurds and Assad, Turkey/NATO actions threaten Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran. It appears that Erdogan’s policies are also being driven by dreams of a neo Ottoman Empire, encompassing parts of Iraq and Syria.

explosivo's picture

There are some great threads on about all this. 

Flying Wombat's picture

More context:

NATO Winds Up Emergency Meeting on Plans to Bolster Turkey’s Security


TIME Admits ISIS Bringing Arms, Fighters In From NATO Territory – Tony Cartalucci

Flying Wombat's picture

Ex-CIA Philip Giraldi:  Why Turkey Would Rather Fight The Kurds Than Help The US Against ISIS

Flying Wombat's picture

Turkey In Danger - Thierry Meyssan

While the Western Press salutes the authorisation given by Turkey to the United States, allowing the US to use its military bases in order to fight Daesh, Thierry Meyssan looks at the nation’s internal tensions. In his view, maintaining Mr. Erdogan in power, as well as the lack of a new majority during the next general elections, will rapidly lead to civil war.

Fun Facts's picture

so called war on terror

quasi_verbatim's picture

Run a gas pipeline past Putin that Putin doesn't want? They must be dreaming.