Turkey has bad relations with the Kurds and is at war with them, as its dismal record on human rights demonstrates. The Kurds are at war with the violent extremists ISIS, and have opened a war on two fronts – one with Turkey and one with ISIS, the Sunni group of terrorists that have committed atrocities on a level unseen since the Rwanda civil war.
Europe’s position is aligned with the Kurds in the conflict against ISIS.
This puts Turkey in the position of having to choose between the European way of life – tolerance, respect for human rights, secular governance – and ISIS’ way of life; forced theocracy, tyranny, fearmongering, terrorism and intimidation of all they come in contact with. It’s not just a matter of the enemy of my enemy is my friend, it’s a matter of choosing a way of life.
It’s a critical choice that comes at a delicate stage of history. Russia has just made an agreement with the US and its relationship with the EU is warming back up after tensions over Ukraine triggered sanctions between the world powers. Turkey is making no friends in Europe after threatening Cyprus over natural gas exploitation by Italian energy giant ENI. The UK is bombing ISIS from Akrotiri Airbase and Turkey’s threatening moves at sea are not welcomed, even by its traditional ally. Ankara is moving with glacial speed towards EU membership, not only because it has to reform in so many ways, but because of its attitude towards the European way of life, an example close to home is its continued armed occupation of an EU member state – Cyprus.
Failing to make the right choice at this stage will not be overlooked by NATO or by the EU, because ISIS – or any other extremist group – will take Turkey to be its ally, simply by the mere fact that Turkey is bombing the Kurds, who are trying to stop ISIS from spreading their terrorism further into the region.
It’s time for Turkey to choose – Europe? Or Extremism?
Wed, 15/10/2014 – 09:10 — Sarah Fenwick