Joseph Dana writes: Turkey is slowly starting to reveal how it intends to fight ISIL, both inside the country and beyond. Last weekend, Turkish security forces arrested three suspected ISIL fighters including one Belgian national of Moroccan origin with alleged ties to last week’s attacks in Paris.
While the European Union is moving quickly to tighten border controls and the United States and its anti-ISIL coalition allies are devising new military plans to bomb ISIL positions in Syria and Iraq, Turkey’s response to the crisis has been slow and scattered. Considering the outsize role Turkey continues to play in the ISIL saga as a primary transit country into and out of Syria, this is disconcerting.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish prime minister-turned-president, spent the last decade crafting a foreign policy propelled by the notion that Turkey was an emerging regional superpower. In 2011, Mr Erdogan threw Turkey’s weight firmly behind the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, betting on former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi’s ability to lead a post-Arab Spring Middle East. Concurrently, Mr Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) developed a verbose anti-Bashar Al Assad stance regarding the civil war in Syria. As such, Turkey became the leading proponent for regime change in Damascus and engendered a close relationship with the rebels fighting Mr Assad’s forces. [Continue reading…]