This is a comment posted by Bob Orleck on March 15 2015 concerning that article. I have serious concern about that and the message it sends to readers.
To Robert I want to say that appreciate much of what you do. However, I think your simplistic analysis of the situation with Turkey and the other Middle East countries you spoke of in the context of fighting the Islamic State does a disservice to what people need to know about such a complex area of the world.
You are wrong to put hope in Turkey as it is politically today to be the country to take ISIS down. Do you really believe that Turkey is stepping up to the plate to fight ISIS after all the time and opportunity they had to do that as the Kurds fought ISIS in Chobani? You need to understand the dynamics of the factions involved at the border before commenting. If Turkey does meaningfully engage ISIS militarily, it will only be after ISIS does the work that Turkey and the other countries tacitly approve of. They have no problem with the Kurds dying and what is happening is no more than a furtherance of a centuries old movement by Islamist to eliminate Christians and those who do not accept their beliefs from the region.
That Turkey is stepping up to the plate to fight ISIS is false hope. Fifteen years ago I would have held that hope and in fact Turkey, the big gorilla in the Middle East probably though their stable presence then prevented what we see today. Not anymore! Your analysis seems to ignore recent history. President Tayyip Erdogan, the man you speak of with confidence that things are turning, was for many years in the more powerful position of Prime Minister of Turkey. Even so that power he had was very limited by Turkey’s secular military. His authority had increased after 2000 because of improvement in the Turkish economy. Prior to that the very powerful Turkish military actually set the political tone in Turkey. During that period, NATO ally Turkey was a great friend to the United States and to Israel. They even did joint military exercised together and that send a stabilizing message through the region. Secularists, they patterned their leadership after the founder of the Turkish Republic, Kemal Ataturk. It would surprise many that Turkey had freedoms then that we derive through our constitution but theirs came at the insistence of the Turkish military and this included freedom of religion.
Simplified, Turkey had in effect dual leadership then. An Islamic civilian government and a secularist military with the military being the more powerful. In 2000 a very powerful and influential Iman, Fetulah Gulen, who was about to be arrested by the military for his activities in Turkey, self exiled himself to the United States and currently resides in safety in Pennsylvania. As mentioned earlier, the improved economy in Turkey led to increased popularity of Prime Minister Erdogan and in the latter part of the 2000 decade he decided to take advantage of his increasing popularity with the people. What resulted was a plot to charge their own pro-western military leaders with conspiracy to overthrow the Republic of Turkey.
The Prime Minister conspired with Fetulah Gulen, whose powerful hand reached across the ocean to influence the police, prosecution and judiciary in Turkey and as a result approximately 450 of Turkey’s top military officers were arrested. This included half of the Admirals in the Turkish Navy. Their only crime was loving their country and individual freedom for her people. The cases known as Balyoz or Sledgehammer were based on bogus digital evidence that supposedly happened in 2003 during a meeting of military leaders. There were so many thousands of irregularities in the evidence that they could not be ignored. Forensic experts all over the world declared such. For example the software that was used as the source of the evidence was developed in 2007 and yet the materials on it were supposedly from 2003. Even a United Nations study group found that these officer’s human rights had been violated.
These are the players you put hope in to defeat the Islamic State. These same men who through conspiracy imprisoned their own honorable military leaders you speak of with hope that they will defeat this enemy of the west and of mankind. It wasn’t until after a riff developed between the two conspirators, Erdogan and Gulen, that their nefarious deeds unraveled and finally after four years of imprisonment these honorable patriotic men were returned to their families but their leadership careers we at an end. With that end also ended the military’s positive role in directing the policies of Turkey. Not much attention was paid to this by the western press but that should not be a surprise considering the pathetic state of journalism in our country which now is no more than a sensationalist driven entertainment media.
I know little about Middle East politics except what I know. I have personal knowledge of much of this and I also know from the accounts even in our deficient press that good people, primarily Christians, are dying horrific deaths right now and American leaders are playing word games with it all. How long will it take before we realize that what is happening is no different than happened to Jews at the hands of Hitler.
Our reaction is going to require more than saying their are already enough boots on the ground and to drop some bombs as we rely on unreliable people to fight our battle. This is not just their battle. This is a battle for the very way of life we have in the United States of America and we must not find excuses for failing to engage in meaningful ways to end it. No we should not unnecessarily put our military at risk but then again we should not shirk the responsibilities that destiny has put on us.