History is replete with examples of US-backed world leaders oppressing their people with Washington’s implicit blessing and despite the fact that the eyes of the world are trained squarely on Syria and, by extension, on any neighboring country that has a role to play in determining the outcome of the Syrian civil war, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan has managed to orchestrate a political coup of epic proportions in plain sight by plunging his people into civil war as NATO looks the other way.
What Erdogan has done, in the space of just three months, is nullify a democratic election outcome by first obstructing efforts to form a coalition government on the way to calling for new elections, then launching a military campaign against the PKK, knowing full well that if enough people are killed between now and the time Turks return to the ballot box in November, the public’s negative perception of the PKK will likely translate to diminished support for the pro-Kurdish HDP, which was in part responsible for AKP losing its absolute parliamentary majority in June.
This is all possible because Erdogan was effectively allowed to trade access to Incirlik (which gives the US army a forward operating base for what will eventually be a ground incursion in Syria) for NATO’s acquiescence to the extermination of the Kurdish opposition in Turkey.
As of Tuesday, this deal had resulted in: 1) hundreds of people killed, 2) the arrest of journalists, 3) the collapse of the lira, 4) a Turkish invasion of Northern Iraq (the fifth in two decades), and 5) no perceptible progress in the “fight” against ISIS which was the pretext for the entire effort.
For anyone who needed further proof that Erdogan won’t stop until his pro-Kurdish political opposition is wiped out entirely, consider the following from FT who