The game played by Turkish president Erdogan over the past days includes a great amount of cynicism. However, the situation that Ankara’s government is facing is not easy. ISIS is tightening its siege around the city of Kobane, in the north of Syria, on the border with Turkey where a Kurdish majority population lives. In order to stop the troops of the so-called Islamic State and save the city an intervention with ground troops is needed. Targeted air bombings carried out by the US Air Force are not enough. Erdogan refuses to intervene and placed tanks to guard national borders, thereby preventing Kurds living in Turkey to cross the border to fight in Kobane. As known the Kurdish population has been fighting a long time to obtain the recognition of fundamental rights that should be ensured to minorities on the basis of international law, while Pkk (Partîya Karkerén Kurdîstan, Workers’ Party of Kurdistan, clandestine political formation), has engaged in an armed struggle against the forces of Ankara for decades, with numerous terror attacks in the attempt to obtain independence of the Eastern part of Turkey. Many officials of the Turkish Armed Forces consider State Kurds enemies as much as they do ISIS. Before this scenario Erdogan hopes that the fight between his two enemies will make them both weaker, and never mind civilian casualties and the barbarian nihilist violence perpetrated by ISIS. Moreover, the Turkish president tacitly hopes to come to terms with the Caliphate and establish a modus vivendi with Isis, that some twenty days ago released 49 hostages previously kidnapped in Iraq on the outskirts of Mosul. It’s a risky challenge, as it is based on the assumption that this new political-military entity, that is spreading death and destruction in the Middle East, may in the future behave more or less like any other State, despite having repeatedly claimed the opposite. Moreover, Erdogan relies on the fact that Kurds living on Turkish territory will no longer be able to initiate an armed struggle capable of destabilizing Turkey to seek revenge over the massacre of their brothers and sisters on the other side of the border. It’s a risky and cynical game, although Turkey’s situation is much worse than that of the United States and most European Countries, who observe developments form a distance. Unfortunately for Turkey however, president Erdogan is not completely unaccountable for the establishment of ISIS. In fact, for months he let men, capitals, and armaments directed to any groups that opposed the authoritarian, illiberal regime of Assad enter Syrian territory, even when international observers had signaled the growth of extremist factions in the region. Just like Sunni Countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and wealthy private funders living in those Countries, the Turkish government is not alien to the current situation. On one thing however, Erdogan is right. Turkey cannot fight ISIS alone. A large coalition must joint forces share and condemn in clear terms the so-called Islamic State on behalf of the entire International Community. Ground troops are needed to stop ISIS, a long-term strategy for the Middle East along with a large cultural movement that will involve Muslim religious leaders worldwide. On these three dimensions, both Europe and the United States have both lagged behind. The alternative is to turn a blind eye in the hope that ISIS won’t be headed by a new Hitler. Under these circumstances, the future picture seems gloomy, and anyway at that point cynicism will no longer be a prerogative of Erdogan alone.
The Turkish government is not alien to the current situation. But United Sates, Europe and Arab countries should act responsibly