In November 2015, French journalist Pascal Celerier said Turkey wants to be a “great power” again, as it was when it was the centre of the Ottoman Empire. In fact, Celerier claims Ankara wants to re-establish this empire. For this reason, he suggests Daesh is not the real problem. Instead, it is the axis of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey which is pushing a corrupted and authoritarian form of pseudo-religious rule on the Middle East. But Celerier doesn’t stress that it is these power-hungry political forces (rather than religion itself) which are the big problem.
The Spectator, meanwhile, insisted on 30 January 2016 that Turkey was becoming “more and more a paranoid one-party state”, and that Erdoğan’s “increasingly tyrannical regime” was actively “suppressing the truth about its war on the Kurds”.
On 1 February, Debbie Bookchin spoke at The Nation about how the USA was facilitating Erdoğan’s “vengeance on opposition parties and the Kurdish people”. By tolerating these human rights violations, she says, the West as a whole was bringing into question once again the type of ‘democracy’ it was seeking to foster in the Middle East. Every death since the PKK’s declaration in 2015 that it would “gladly abide by a US-mediated cease-fire”, she insists, “has been blood on our hands”.
On 11 February, The Huffington Post’s Akbar Shahid Ahmed said Obama was “letting Turkey target the U.S.’s best bet against ISIS” – by which he meant the PKK and their allies in Rojava. Quoting the HDP’s Osman Baydemir, he says:
Turkey is becoming a version of Syria
However, Ahmed reveals that the USA may have its hands tied to a certain extent with Turkey. Max Hoffman, a Turkey analyst at the Center for American Progress, suggested that Washington could only really make private recommendations to Ankara regarding its repression of dissent and war on Kurdish communities. Making a “public stand”, Hoffman says, or even using “coercive pressure on other fronts” might simply lead the Erdoğan regime to “demonize the US with divisive, populist rhetoric” – which would reduce US influence in Turkey.
At the same time, though, Ahmed insists that the more the Turkish regime tries to defeat the impassioned youth militias formed in the Kurdish southeast “by targeting the PKK and the HDP”:
the fewer moderate or experienced voices remain to shepherd peace talks
New Eastern Outlook’s Tony Cartalucci argued on 14 February of why Turkey was “the Source, Not Solution to ISIS and the Syrian Crisis”.
ROAR agreed, insisting Erdoğan was “busy shredding all pretense that his nation state has anything to do with democracy”.
The Guardian, meanwhile, asserted on 18 February that Turkey’s policies regarding Kurdish communities were becoming “a major international problem”. It stressed that:
until Turkey radically realigns its policies around the pursuit of peace with its own Kurds, it will continue to add to the region’s troubles rather than help to contain them.