ANALYSIS: Erdogan once again proves he's a threat to world peace

Turkish President Recep Erdogan continuing to undermine US allies in the Middle East, promote his own Islamist agenda.

Yochanan Visser ,

Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Hamas Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh
Recep Tayyip Erdogan (R) and Hamas Gaza leader Ismail Haniyeh

In May 2017, activists in Germany projected a huge picture of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dressed as Hitler on the walls of the Turkish embassy in Berlin.

The activists also projected the words “He’s Back” on the walls of the embassy and said they were protesting the imprisonment of two Turkish journalists who had published articles critical of Erdogan.

“We as Germans know what happens in the early stages of a dictatorship. The similarities between the early Nazi regime and Erdogan’s Turkey right now are frightening," Oliver Bienkowski, one of the activists, told The Independent while adding the Turkish leader “must be stopped before it is too late.”

The incident came in mind again watching Erdogan’s latest bellicose actions toward the Kurds in Syria, his renewed vicious rhetoric toward Israel, as well as the publication of a new study documenting the massive crackdown on press freedom in Turkey.

On Friday, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) published its annual report about jailed journalists and Turkey and “perennial champion Turkey again leads the league”, Breitbart reported.

Erdogan, who is still milking the murder of Saudi columnist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, was responsible for the incarceration of no less than 68 journalists in Turkey in 2018 according to the CPJ report.

The list doesn’t include the imprisonment of the 13-men and women-strong staff of the Kurdish media organization Gün Printing House which was jailed for the ‘crime’ of printing the pro-Kurdish paper Özgürlükçü Demokrasi.

Erdogan clearly has an obsession with the Kurds and now risks a dangerous confrontation with the US military in Syria over his vow to launch a new incursion into what the Syrian Kurds call Rojava, the autonomous Kurdish region in Syria which straddles the Turkish border.

During a speech to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which convened in Istanbul last Friday, Erdogan repeated his demand that the U.S. cease its cooperation with the Kurdish militia YPG in Syria and threatened renewed military action against the Syrian Kurds.

“Either they will demolish those terror groups or we will,” the hotheaded Turkish leader warned.

Erdogan’s threat came a few hours after he held a discussion about the situation in northern and eastern Syria with US President Donald Trump who talked with the Turkish leader on the telephone.

The White House later issued a statement which said the parties would “continue coordinating to achieve our respective security objectives in Syria” while the US State Department seemed to indulge in an effort to appease Erdogan over his concerns regarding the Kurds.

“The United States remains committed to working with Turkey to address Turkish security concerns, including along its borders, and we support Turkey in its fight against the PKK, while attempting to reduce tensions,” James Jeffrey the US representative for Syria told reporters, adding US support for the Kurds was “tactical and temporary.”

Immediately after Erdogan issued his threat to launch a new invasion in Syria Turkish commando units began deploying along the Syrian border in northeastern Syria.

At the same time, the Free Syrian Army (FSA) which consists of 15,000 mainly Islamist fighters and is backed by Turkey appeared to make preparations for joining the battle against the Kurds something that led to an American warning.

“Any involvement by the FSA (in a Turkish attack on Rojova) will be interpreted an attack on the US and Coalition forces, which will in return lead to a direct conflict with the Coalition Forces and the United States,” unnamed US officials told the FSA according to the state-controlled news agency Anadolu in Turkey.

The officials added that the Syrian Democratic Forces, which are dominated by the Kurdish YPG militia, are now “intertwined with US forces” and therefore an attack on the SDF would be considered an assault on the US military and the anti-ISIS coalition.

While Erdogan has emphasized a Turkish attack on the Syrian Kurds would not include a confrontation with the US military in Rojova it remains hard to see how a confrontation between the two NATO partners could be avoided once the battle begins.

The US military, which has an estimated 4,000 soldiers in Rojova, has no intention to leave the territories which were liberated from ISIS now that the Trump Administration has changed its focus from fighting ISIS to containing Iran in Syria.

Those territories make up roughly one-third of Syrian soil and serve as a buffer which prevents Iran to complete its land bridge from Tehran to the Israeli border on the Golan Heights.

Last month media reports indicated the U.S. Special Forces in eastern Syria had begun training and equipping a large number of SDF fighters in preparation for a confrontation with Iranian-backed Shiite militias which control a part of the Syrian Iraqi border.

A Turkish attack on the SDF would not only imperil the battle against the remnants of the ISIS’ Caliphate but also endanger the effort to contain Iran in Syria.

Erdogan, however, has other plans for Syria and wants to expand the last bastion of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Middle East as part of his neo-Ottoman imperialistic agenda.

For this reason, he has also instructed his Islamist allies in the northern Syrian province Idlib to pick up arms again and to prevent the pro-Assad coalition from taking over the area.

As I reported a year ago the Turkish leader is also meddling in the Israeli-Arab conflict by supporting Islamist organizations in east Jerusalem and by brainwashing Arabs in the city via educational programs.

While preparing for a new illegal invasion in Syria the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood leader found time to bash Israel again and compared Israel again to Nazi Germany under Hitler.

While accusing Israel of committing “cultural genocide” Erdogan claimed, “the Palestinians are subjected to pressures, violence and intimidation policies no less grave than the oppression done to the Jews during WWII.”