TURKEY: A Key Actor in the Region

Islamic States of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an extremist militant group is a new emerging phenomenon of Middle East, which aims to establish a caliphate Islamic State based on Sharia. This insurgent group emerged as a result of US invasion in Iraq and be thrown of Saddam Hussain and his army. After a lot of transitional phases, ISIS is now holding their grounds in Iraq and Syria.

They have arisen as a new threat to international peace and stability. Efforts are being made to crush down the heads of ISIS before their regional expansion. This has caused unrest in the Middle East. Countries having contiguous borders with Iraq and Syria are mainly at a large risk. Turkey is a developed secular state having Muslim majority. President Recep Tayyip Erdogen has contributed a lot in fixing the economic and social structure of the country. Turkey has an adjacent border with Syria in the Town of Kobani, which is the front line between the Islamic militants and the Kurds. It can be an important player of the game because of its internal state dynamics regarding its minorities.

ISIS is mainly targeting the Kurds, which is a minority in Turkey, so Turkey can be the next target of ISIS. Obama administration is pressing Ankara to play its part against the extremist group who has taken control of Iraq and Syria along with Kobani, as Turkey is the ally of US and the member of NATO. Also Turkey has the most important geographical position to participate in the process of eliminating the ISIS from the region. But it can be clearly observed that Turkey is reluctant to do so. What can be the predictive stance of Turkey in the situation? Does the silence of Turkey really mean something? Is Turkey giving any message to the international community by staying silent?

By having a glimpse at the current situation, one can easily relate it to the past, when a militant group Al Qaida had emerged in Afghanistan as the threat to the international system. USA, along with its ally Pakistan, initiated the global war on terror against Al Qaida and other militant groups.

  Pakistan, having a contiguous border with Afghanistan endured a lot of security instability during the war on terror as the extremists penetrated in Pakistan and became a state’s security threat. Its internal peace has been traumatized and even after 13 years of war on terror, Pakistan is unable to maintain its internal security. Now if we surrogate these events with the present situation, the picture of Turkeys silence upon the issue gets clear.

Turkey does not want to involve itself in the war which can lead it to the annihilation in the future. A wise decision by Turkey has been made to stay away from the war. It has learned quite a lesson from others past experiences. But the situation is not as simpler as it seems. If Turkey will not join hands with USA to finish the ISIS from Middle East then the ISIS can be a danger for Turkey and its minority Kurds someday. Conspiracies are being made about the attitude of Turkey in the situation. There is a buzzing voice that ISIS and Turkey are having some agreements with each other and it will restrict the ISIS to stay away from Turkey in the future. ISIS captured 49 Turkish consulate staff members for 101 days until 20th September’14.

They were then released by the ISIS and Turkey claimed that the release was merely achieved through diplomatic means. If Turkey is bound by such an agreement then Turkey should not forget Operation Barbarossa in the year 1941, in which Germany and the then Soviet Union signed a deal with each for the mutual cooperation.

But soon after German goals were achieved, Germany secretly started the invasion of Soviet Union and launched their attack. Now it’s high time for Turkey to clear its image in the current predicament because it is the need of time to eliminate the ISIS from the region before it gets too late and become a bigger peril even for Turkey itself.

Author: Nida Khalid