There are growing reports and indications that Turkey is preparing for a military invasion of Syria. Turkey’s reluctance to take any role in fighting or opposing ISIL has been glaringly apparent on the world stage. Even when the Kurdish forces were fighting for their lives to save the city of Kobane from an ISIL conquest, the Turkish military forces, which could easily have intervened to roll back the ISIL advance, were ordered to not fire a single shot against ISIL forces. Even though Turkey is a NATO ally, its refusal to allow US and coalition warplanes to launch missions vs. ISIL from Turkish airfields clearly put Turkey in the role of a passive ally of ISIL. This may be about to change…or is it?
The first link is a Stratfor.com analysis re: the possibility of an impending Turkish invasion of Syria. [It may be hard for readers to access the link. If you click on it and receive an advertising solicitation, I found that I could access the article by going to my browser and typing in “How Turkey would invade Syria” in my browser’s search function.] Stratfor is known for cogent analysis, and it offers its view of what a Turkish invasion would look like and what its goals might be. Its analysis argues that Turkey is not going to seek a fight with Kurdish forces that are already fighting the ISIL forces within Syria. I hope that proves to be true if this invasion occurs, but things may not work out in such a benign fashion once any shooting starts. The Stratfor analysis correctly points out that Russia and Iran are allies of Syria’s Assad government and would be “unhappy” with a Turkish invasion of Syria. That puts it mildly, and the article notes that Iran has already warned Turkey against implementing any invasion plans. While assessing the possibility of a Turkish invasion as “unlikely,” Stratfor nonetheless considers it a sufficient possibility that it has analyzed how such an invasion might unfold.
The second link reports that the Kurdish forces have also warned Turkey not to launch such an invasion. There are many perspectives on this possible Turkish invasion of Syria and the third link offers readers many options for your review.
Allow me to offer my thoughts on the matter. There is a longstanding hostility between the Turks and the stateless Kurds which forms an inescapable backdrop for this topic. The Kurds are a large minority within Turkey and are a majority in some of Turkey’s southeastern cities and regions. The recent Turkish elections gave the Turkish Kurds an unprecedentedly large voice within the Turkish Parliament as the Kurdish party elected enough members to the Turkish Parliament to become pivotal in votes on some Parliamentary matters. The Turkish government cannot ignore this sudden change within Turkish political realities. Turkey is probably worried about the success of the Kurdish forces against ISIL along Turkey’s southern border with Syria and Iraq. The Kurdish successes could link all the Kurdish regions together in a new Kurdistan along Turkey’s southern border, and Turkey’s possible invasion into Syria might be planned to prevent this from happening as much as taking any action vs. ISIL.
In a related matter, FoxNews is reporting that the USA has been refusing to ship heavy weapons directly to the Kurds and has been pressuring allies not to do so either (fourth link). Given that the USA has helped the Kurds with air strikes, why is the USA taking such a seemingly schizophrenic approach to the Kurds by not only refusing to give them major assistance for their ground forces but also preventing other nations from helping the Kurds directly? The link reports that other nations are getting so frustrated with the USA’s anti-Kurdish policies re: heavy weapons for the Kurdish ground forces that other nations are about to openly defy the USA (and the UK) and start shipping heavy weapons directly to the Kurds. The opposition of the Obama administration to shipping heavy weapons to the Kurds is bizarre when one considers the pro-Kurdish air strikes by the USAF and the fact the Kurds are the only “boots on the ground” that have proven effective vs. ISIL. There seems to be some sub rosa cooperation between the USA, Turkey, Iran and the Iraqi-aligned central government of Iraq to keep the Kurds from obtaining heavy weapons. Is it that these parties want to maintain the fiction that Iraq is actually a nation any longer when it is not? The Kurds have effectively formed a self-governing nation in the northern portion of Iraq and the forenamed nations likely fear this development. If the Kurds can accomplish so much militarily with no meaningful air force and outdated tanks, think what an independent Kurdistan could do with large numbers of modern weaponry! So we have the bizarre reality of the USA helping the Kurds via air strikes even as it works to hinder the Kurdish ground forces by insisting that all weapons shipments to the Kurds go via Iranian- and Shiite-controlled Baghdad–which ensures that the weapons will never reach the Kurds.
If Turkey does invade Syria, things may go in a relatively benign fashion as Stratfor proposes, but things could also get very ugly if things go wrong. Assad’s government and very likely Russia and Iran do not want Turkish forces inside Syria as they fear the Turkish forces’ real objective is to overthrow the Assad government and install a pro-Turkish regime. This could result in Turkey facing a confrontation with Russia and Iran. If Turkish military forces entering Syria end up firing on Kurdish forces inside Syria, then Turkey risks the potential of an all-out civil war inside Turkey if all the Kurds rise against Turkey in a rage at Turks killing Kurds. Other nations would then “pick sides” and intervene on either the Turkish or Kurdish side. This would be a “worst case” scenario and I doubt it will happen. But it becomes a real risk if Turkish forces enter Syria where Kurdish forces are engaged vs. ISIL.
From a biblical perspective, the role of Turkey in the Bible’s prophecy is still muddled. Turkish leader Erdogan received a major rebuke from Turkish voters in Turkey’s recent election, but he still has inner aspirations and plans which seem clear only to him. I’ve discussed my linkage of modern Turks to the modern descendants of Edom/Esau in recent posts so I won’t repeat that discussion in this one. Turkey is in a very strategic geographical position, and its future alignment will have a major effect in strengthening the Gog-Magog alliance if it eventually aligns with Russia, China or Iran or an opposite outcome if Turkey stays aligned with NATO and the West. Have Erdogan’s Islamist policies given him some sympathy for ISIL’s Islamism goals or is he secretly allowing ISIL to carve out a region of Islamist control inside Syria and Iraq which he hopes to eventually inherit as a step to reclaiming some of the old Ottoman Empire?
Events are getting ever-more muddled and confused in the Mideast. What is certain is that God’s Will regarding prophesied alliances for the latter days will eventually be implemented in the region. As I’ve noted before, none of Abraham’s descendants are listed as being a part of the Gog-Magog alliance in Ezekiel 38:2-6, so my expectation is that Turkey will remain in NATO and the West. However, this is only a current expectation on my part; and future events could change that.
I’ll leave readers with one last thought. If the USA and the West “sell out” the valiant Kurds after the Kurds have been the only effective blocking force against ISIL, then all the rest of the nations will see this and will realize that no ally can trust the USA as long as the current administration is in power. All US allies will be hoping for a new US administration (after the 2016 US elections) that is predictable and trustworthy. Also, the Kurds are fighting for a nation and for their survival. If they are betrayed by the USA and the West, they may have no choice but to embrace Iran and Russia as allies. That would be a very bad outcome.