The Lessons From Turkey’s Intervention: Our Friends Can’t Choose Our Enemies

After World War II, when Stalin encroached upon Turkey and Greece, Harry Truman came to the rescue. Turkey reciprocated by sending thousands of troops to fight alongside our GIs in Korea.

Turkey joined NATO and let the U.S. station Jupiter missiles in their country. When JFK secretly traded away the Jupiters for removal of the Soviet missiles in Cuba, the Turks went along.

Early this century, under Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey seemed to be emerging as a major power, a land bridge between Europe and the Islamic world, a friend to its neighbors, and future member of the EU.

But, recently, a U.S. diplomat blurted, “The Turks are out of their lane!”

And that describes the situation succinctly and well.

When rebels rose up to overthrow Bashar Assad in Syria, and Assad elected to fight not quit, Erdogan turned on him and began to permit jihadists to enter Syria.

When ISIS terrorists seized Raqqa in Syria, and Mosul and Anbar in Iraq, Erdogan refused to let U.S. planes based at Incirlik bomb them.

When America supported Syrian Kurds with air power, enabling them to hold off an ISIS attack on Kobani on the Syria-Turkish border, Erdogan denounced the Kurds as the greater threat.

But 10 days ago came an ISIS atrocity in Suruc, Turkey, just north of Kobani. Thirty-two young Turkish Kurds who were planning to help rebuild Kobani were massacred, and a hundred wounded.

Instantly, Erdogan permitted U.S. planes at Incirlik to attack ISIS targets in Syria and launched air strikes himself. It appeared that, at long last, the U.S. and Turkey were again on the same page, seeing ISIS as the primary enemy, and acting jointly against it.

But the Turkish attacks on ISIS proved to be pinpricks. And the Turks began a major air assault on Kurdish forces in exile in Iraq, the PKK, who had fled

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