NATO Mem­bers De­feat — Don’t Laun­der — Ter­ror­ism

The Washington Times Daily - - TURKEY - By Dr. Michael Rubin

On Jan. 19, 2014, Turk­ish po­lice stopped sev­eral trucks near the Syr­ian bor­der. Upon in­spec­tion, they found mor­tars, ar­tillery shells, and tens of thou­sands of bul­lets, all ap­par­ently des­tined for the Nusra Front, an al Qaeda af­fil­i­ate in Syria. The Turk­ish gov­ern­ment might have used the op­por­tu­nity to al­lay sus­pi­cions it was play­ing a dou­ble game, but in­stead of ar­rest­ing the truck driv­ers, Turk­ish leader Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan im­pris­oned the po­lice­men: The trucks be­longed to Turk­ish in­tel­li­gence.

NATO mem­ber or not, such ac­tions have be­come the rule rather than the ex­cep­tion. Not long af­ter, when jour­nal­ists pho­tographed de­liv­ery of Turk­ish arms to the Is­lamic State, Mr. Er­do­gan re­tal­i­ated not against those aid­ing the os­ten­si­ble en­emy, but rather against their edi­tors.

Turkey has a ter­ror­ism prob­lem, but it has lit­tle to do with the fol­low­ers of ex­iled the­olo­gian Fethul­lah Gülen, whose ex­tra­di­tion Mr. Er­do­gan seeks. The sin of Gülen was in­de­pen­dence, not ter­ror. Alas, while Turkey’s lob­by­ists and diplo­mats cite Turkey’s decades-long part­ner­ship with the West, that Turkey is gone.

Con­sider the fol­low­ing:

In 2006, as the United States and the Euro­pean Union sought to isolate Ha­mas un­til it agreed to aban­don ter­ror­ism and rec­og­nize Is­rael, Mr. Er­do­gan not only reached out to the group, but also in­vited Khalid Mishaal — its most mil­i­tant leader — to be his per­sonal guest. The prob­lem was not just Mr. Er­do­gan, though. When the Turk­ish leader sub­se­quently in­vited Ha­mas po­lit­i­cal leader Ismail Haniya to Ankara, the ter­ror­ist group leader re­ceived a stand­ing ova­tion in par­lia­ment. In sub­se­quent years, the Turk­ish gov­ern­ment’s outreach to Ha­mas — no mat­ter what ter­ror­ism it con­ducts — has grown only warmer.

Ha­mas is not the only prob­lem. In 2007, a train de­railed in Turkey car­ry­ing hun­dreds of rock­ets ap­par­ently des­tined for Hezbol­lah; the train’s man­i­fest said it was car­ry­ing build­ing ma­te­rial. Turk­ish au­thor­i­ties swept the in­ci­dent un­der the rug, but it fore­shad­owed Mr. Er­do­gan’s will­ing­ness to sup­port anti-West­ern ter­ror for ide­ol­ogy or profit, all the while as­sur­ing West­ern diplo­mats that he still sought a Euro­pean fu­ture.

Nor are Turk­ish fin­ger­prints only lim­ited to ter­ror­ism in the Mid­dle East. As French forces en­tered Mali to help that coun­try de­feat an al Qaeda af­fil­i­ate’s takeover of more than 150,000 square miles


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