Sassounian: Erdogan Is Pursuing His Self-Interests, Instead of Fighting ISIS Terrorists

Last month, only after losing his party’s parliamentary majority, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan realized that there are dangerous terrorists in neighboring Syria who are a threat to Turkey’s security.

Ironically, these are the same terrorists that Ankara has been arming, assisting their infiltration into Syria, and having them treated in Turkish hospitals. It is estimated that as many as 25,000 foreign and 1,000 Turkish jihadists have crossed Turkey’s border in recent years trying to topple Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.

Using the excuse that a Turkish soldier was killed by a shot fired from Syria last week, Erdogan ordered a series of bombing raids by land and air in northern Syria and Iraq, as well as rounding up over 1,000 individuals in Turkey suspected of being Kurdish fighters, leftist militants, and ISIS followers.

After several years of reluctance, the Turkish government finally announced on July 24 that it would allow the United States to use one or more of its airbases to launch attacks on jihadist groups in Syria.

Rather than fighting ISIS terrorists or cooperating with United States military operations in Syria and Iraq, Erdogan’s true intent is to consolidate his own hold on power and accomplish the following self-serving objectives:

1) Turkey’s president realizes that should his ruling party fail to form a coalition government, he would be obliged to call a new round of parliamentary elections. Therefore, by taking bold actions against ISIS and Kurdish fighters, Erdogan hopes that Turkish voters would give his party the few extra seats needed to regain a majority in parliament.

2) Another important purpose for bombing northern Syria and Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) bases in Iraq and arresting hundreds of Kurdish militants in Turkey is not to fight ISIS, but to prevent Syrian, Iraqi, and Turkish Kurds from joining hands to create an independent Kurdistan.

3) By carrying out military raids in Syria, Erdogan hopes to accomplish his long-sought dream of toppling the Syrian government and installing a puppet regime, thus expanding his personal power as a neo-Ottoman sultan.

4) Finally, by making brash declarations against ISIS and allowing Americans to use the Incirlik airbase, Turkey intends to convince the United States and Western Europe that it is a reliable NATO ally and a loyal partner in the fight against terrorism. Creating such a positive image is particularly important at a time when the major powers are finalizing a nuclear agreement with Iran, which would increase the latter’s strategic role in the region and diminish that of Turkey.

By pursuing the foregoing four objectives, Erdogan is running the risk of destabilizing Turkey and neighboring states, for the following reasons:

1) By attacking ISIS targets in northern Syria, ostensibly in retaliation for the killed Turkish soldier, Ankara is breaking its secret understanding with ISIS to refrain from mutual attacks. ISIS is now compelled to hit back. Last week’s suicide attack in the Turkish town of Suruc, which killed 32 persons and wounded more than 100, is probably the precursor of such ISIS terror acts throughout Turkey.

2) Turkey broke last week the ceasefire agreement it had signed with the PKK in 2013 when it bombed the latter’s bases in northern Iraq and arrested hundreds of Kurdish militants in Turkey. The PKK has already retaliated by killing several Turkish policemen, and promising more bloodshed. Furthermore, by attacking the Kurds in Syria and Iraq, Turkey would be weakening the only force that has successfully fought against ISIS. Since the United States views Kurdish fighters as its substitute troops on the ground, Turkish attacks against the Kurds would undermine U.S. military objectives in the region.

3) Should Erdogan invade northern Syria ostensibly to establish “a safety zone,” Turkish troops are likely to suffer many casualties, battling not only the Syrian Army, but also heavily armed Kurdish fighters, and scores of rag-tag jihadist groups. Turkey could also be confronted by Iranian troops coming to the aid of their Syrian ally and Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon who have been backing the Assad regime.

The Turkish president’s self-serving fake war against terrorism could have the tragic consequence of escalating the violence throughout Turkey and neighboring countries. If Ankara is truly interested in countering the jihadists, it should have done that long ago, instead of arming and abetting ISIS and other terror groups. Turkish leaders are now going to reap what they sowed. They can only blame themselves!


Harut Sassounian

Harut Sassounian

California Courier Editor
Harut Sassounian is the publisher of The California Courier, a weekly newspaper based in Glendale, Calif. He is the president of the Armenia Artsakh Fund, a non-profit organization that has donated to Armenia and Artsakh one billion dollars of humanitarian aid, mostly medicines, since 1989 (including its predecessor, the United Armenian Fund). He has been decorated by the presidents of Armenia and Artsakh and the heads of the Armenian Apostolic and Catholic churches. He is also the recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor.


  1. Mr. Sassounian is right on, but that unfortunately will not stop the leftist pseudo-intellectuals in the West from lavishing Turkey with praise. In order to compensate for alleged Islamophobia on the right, the left practices a form of diplomatic affirmative action, whereby Turkey is a shining example of democracy just because it is not as messed up as all the other Muslim countries in the region.

  2. latest Rajab Oghloo’s sincere intention toward ISIS is a plot to fool NATO members, in order to bomb and destroy Kurdish bases, inside and outside of Turkey, where Jihadists faced a major defeats in the hands of Kurdish peshmarga and PKK fighters!

  3. Very well said Alex. That’s exactly what the idiots in the west will do. They will act like pimps showering their Turkish prostitutes with praises and gifts to encourage them for their “good” deeds so they will continue to serve the western interests.

    These are classic self-serving Turkish con games in action. They fund, arm and give safe passage to ISIS into Syria and sit back and watch ISIS do their dirty work to commit criminal acts to weaken their Shia rivals and uproot Christians from their homes without lifting a finger to help forces fighting ISIS to stop all that human sufferings.

    Now that ISIS criminals have turned their guns on their Turkish collaborators and the Kurds are gaining grounds against ISIS, the two-faced, opportunistic and cunning Turks have suddenly had a moral epiphany and feel the need to “appear” cooperating with anti-ISIS forces by allowing them to use their air bases to eliminate the ISIS threat from the Turkish border for them while they themselves go after the Kurds to crush them and put an end to any possible autonomous movement by the Kurds in the region.

    In many ways, this is in effect Erdogan’s way of regaining some of the power he lost to the pro-Kurdish movement in recent elections and gaining more Turkish voters by taking a more traditional Turkish stand on the Kurds by using the ISIS threat as a cover to do a 180-turn on the Kurds.

    • Articulated very well Ararat.

      There was an article recently in TheGuardian* about US having discovered direct links between Turkey and ISIS recently.
      (Pretty funny that they supposedly discovered the link only recently: riiiiight).

      Some excerpts:

      {From mid-2013, the Tunisian fighter had been responsible for smuggling oil from Syria’s eastern fields, which the group had by then commandeered. Black market oil quickly became the main driver of Isis revenues – and Turkish buyers were its main clients.}
      {The estimated $1m-$4m per day in oil revenues that was thought to have flowed into Isis coffers over at least six months from late 2013 helped to transform an ambitious force with limited means into a juggernaut that has been steadily drawing western forces back to the region and increasingly testing state borders.}

      {In the wake of the raid that killed Abu Sayyaf, suspicions of an undeclared alliance have hardened. 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”. “There are hundreds of flash drives and documents that were seized there,” the official told the Observer. “They are being analysed at the moment, but the links are already so clear that they could end up having profound policy implications for the relationship between us and Ankara.”}


  4. One thing I don’t understand is this: Why are we surprised at all this?! ISIS is the monster intentionally created by the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance with the help of their regional allies – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan. Anyone that does not see this needs to have their heads examined. ISIS has doing the preparatory ground work for the above mentioned evil partnership for the past few years. Geostrategically, ISIS was tasked with carving a territory for Wahhabist Sunnis in Syria and Iraq, thereby putting in place a powerful buffer against the growth of Iranian influence in the region. Now, ISIS will be the convenient excuse to invade Syria with “peace keeping” troops from Turkey and Jordan. And ISIS will be the convenient excuse to officially fragment Syria at a later date. I say convenient because they made sure to scare the crap out of the Western sheeple with ISIS atrocities aired on television on a 24/7 basis. Now, those who have planned the fragmentation of Syria will have an easy time selling to the Western public the eventual invasion of Syria. This is what ISIS was meant to do from day one. I am amazed at how many people still buy the Western narrative. It really speaks volumes about the power of societal conditioning by the controlled news media and the general dumbing down of people.

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