Turkey Confronts Its “Frankenstein” in Syria

Turkey Confronts its 'Frankenstein' in Syria
Turkey Confronts its “Frankenstein” in Syria

My analysis of Turkey’s intervention in Syria is published by The National Interest today.

In the article, “Turkey Confronts its ‘Frankenstein’ in Syria,” I argue that five years into the Syrian war, Turkey is finally confronting some of the problems it helped create.

The first is the Islamic State. Although Turkey denies it ever abetted the caliphate, it did allow weapons and foreign fighters to cross into Syria from 2012 to 2014, hoping this would put pressure on the regime of President Bashar al-Assad.

There is also no doubt Turkey supported more likeminded Islamists in Syria, seeking to take advantage of what was then seen as another “Arab Spring” uprising to reassert its influence in the Middle East.

This inadvertently exacerbated Turkey’s second security challenge: Kurdish independence.

By promoting the disintegration of Syria and trading oil with the Iraqi Kurds over Baghdad’s objections, Turkey helped erase the state borders between the three countries — and helped make an independent Kurdistan seem ever more likely.

This is a nightmare for the Turks.

If an independent Kurdistan emerges from the turmoil in Iraq and Syria, the pressure on Turkey to allow its Kurds to join such a state could prove unbearable. It would then lose between a quarter and a third of its territory as well as its borders with Iran, Iraq and possibly Armenia, relegating it the ranks of lesser powers in the region.

I argue that it’s too late for Turkey to nip the specter of Kurdish secession in the bud. But what it can do is try to contain Kurdish nationalism and block the formation of a Kurdish state in Syria.

Click here to read the whole piece at The National Interest.