Once the apotheosis of a pro-Western, dependable Muslim democracy, this week Turkey officially left the Western alliance and became a full member of the Iranian axis…
On Monday, 11 Turkish government ministers descended on Syria to sign a pile of cooperation agreements with Iran’s Arab lackey. The Foreign Ministry didn’t even have a chance to write apologetic talking points explaining that brazen move before Syria announced it was entering a military alliance with Turkey and would be holding a joint military exercise with the Turkish military. Speechless in the wake of Turkey’s move to hold military maneuvers with its enemy just two days after it canceled joint training with Israel, Jerusalem could think of no mitigating explanation for the move.
Like many, I’ve long wondered just what, exactly, is really going on in Turkey and what things are going to look like down the road. It appears that we’re finding out that the shining example of “how things could be” is more than a little tarnished. And here’s a bit about something I think has been overlooked in the discussion about the hows and whys of the invasion and post-invasion phase of Iraq:
Until this week, both Israel and the US were quick to make excuses for Ankara. When in 2003 the AKP-dominated Turkish parliament prohibited US forces from invading Iraq through Kurdistan, the US blamed itself. Rather than get angry at Turkey, the Bush administration argued that its senior officials had played the diplomatic game poorly.
The 4th Infantry Division was supposed to enter from the north via Turkey, but the equipment stayed aboard ships in the Med and the troops stayed home until well after the invasion was on. They eventually entered from Kuwait after needing to shift to the Persian Gulf.
I wrote in March 2003, when the military aspect of the campaign was still fuzzy:
Neither do we know exactlty why the negotiations with Turkey failed to get us the access we wanted to pass the 4th Infantry Division through into northern Iraq. If the [military] plan is indeed seriously flawed, my opinion is that the largest error was not getting that access. If we weren’t going to get it, we should have shifted the 4th ID to Kuwait immediately.
Now, as it turned out, quick military victory was achieved without the invasion from Turkey. But I’ve wondered how things would have looked if it would have gone off as originally planned or, alternatively, if we had shifted the 4th ID immediately to Kuwait and had them available earlier in the campaign.
Is Turkey really “lost” to the West? Tough to say for sure, but it doesn’t look good.