BY: İbrahim Karagül*
Those couple of hours defeated that big game
Turkey joined the sharing post-World War I with the weakest and most unfavorable conditions known. It was merely able to protect itself and remain standing. The regional status quo took shape completely against the interests of Turkey and those living in the region. Garrison states were built and the century-long colonial order was established.
Today, the same Turkey is enjoying its strongest state in the second establishment period of the geography. It is the most powerful state in the region and one of the most powerful states in the world. It proved this power by repelling the July 15 attack within a few hours. Because that attack was a multinational attack; it was set up to entirely collapse Turkey.
In those few hours, Turkey defeated a plan that would destroy not only itself, but the entire region.
Those few hours could have resulted in Turkey’s collapse, go all the way to the country’s destruction and lead to tremors strong enough to wipe out every single country in the region.
The decisions we make will change centuries
Because we know that as long as Turkey remains standing, no regional-scale map can be applied. As long as Turkey remains strong, neither Iraq nor Syria can be divided. There is no way for that great plan to be implemented unless Turkey is divided. They know this as much as we do and therefore they are directly targeting Turkey.
We need to know what kind of fight we are in, what kind of resistance we demonstrated, that this showdown is not a Turkey war alone, it is a geography war. We should realize that the steps we take today will change centuries. We should know that we have the responsibility today to take bold decisions, that none of this is an adventure, that they are history-changing decisions.
They were going to make us go into war with Russia and Iran
Turkey made a national breakthrough for the first time with Operation Euphrates Shield. We wasted years on regional security, Turkey’s security, fighting terrorism, issues such as Syria or Iraq, simply by trusting our alliance relations. Prioritizing the U.S., NATO and European Union, we pushed Turkey’s national reflexes into the background.
The more we believed them, the more we trusted them, the more the circle around us became tighter, the countries around us became divided, and we lost our people, resources and years because of the terrorist organizations under their control.
The moment we turned to look, we saw the war being spread into our homes, plans to turn Turkey into Syria were being activated. They wanted to both make us kneel through terrorist organizations and make us go to war with Russia and Iran.
Had we not conducted Operation Euphrates Shield, which we should have conducted a year ago, we would never have been able to go ahead with it. The plan to siege our country from the Mediterranean coast to the Iraqi border would have been completed. They would have formed the same band in Iraqi borders as well; they would have built a wall of terror between Turkey and the south from the Mediterranean to the Iranian border. This was a plan to suffocate it in Anatolia. Because as soon as this line was completed, open attacks were going to be launched against Turkey.
Three more Euphrates Shields and the Mosul intervention
We have ruined the game for now, even if in a narrow area. The corridor of terrorism has been halted and that siege was broken. But if their plan is to extend this band all the way to the Iranian border, the fact that we cannot make so with the Euphrates Shield is obvious. It is clear that there is a necessity to conduct at least two break-out operations in Syrian territory, like in Jarablus and at least one in Iraqi territory.
For example, a similar break-out operation should be conducted from Afrin, from Tal Abyad. Areas of intervention that will go as deep as Tal Afar, as deep as Mosul on Iraqi lands against those who try to keep us away from the Mosul issue. This may seem quite frightening to some, it may seem like war mongering. But how this will become such a great requirement within no more than a year, the number of great opportunities that will be missed in the case it is not done and that every missed opportunity will have heavy costs for Turkey should be taken into consideration.
If they made a siege plan from the Mediterranean to the Iranian border, then we are obliged to form our own safety shield on the south of the border along the same line – this is now a legitimate right to self-defense for us. In other words, we are obliged to turn the siege line into a defense shield.
Erdoğan’s statements and ‘national’ defense
I see these tendencies in all of the speeches made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the last two weeks. I see traces of these truths when questioning his statements, when trying to understand what he is saying, when evaluating the messages he gives. I am trying to foresee what may happen from now on within the scope of the new national defense concept. This is the first time we are taking such a position since the end of the Cold War and this is shaped completely in accordance with Turkey’s truths.
Because this is a country’s self-defense move and self-defense can never be transferred to another country, to alliance relations. Such an alliance relationship no longer exists anyway, because Turkey is being directly hit by those alliance relations and it is also them spurring the region against Turkey. It should also be stated once more that the main threat aimed at Turkey is that which comes from allies. July 15 was an ally attack. This is why attempts at making this country kneel will continue; as long as Turkey does not surrender, the threat will continue to come from the same addresses.
The two cities’ identity and sectarian war
There is a deep calculation underlying the plan to exclude Turkey from the U.S. operation aimed at Mosul. They want to throw us outside of Syria and Iraq, they are making their calculations accordingly. And while doing this, they are keeping us busy on the inside with the Gülenist Terror Organization (FETÖ) and Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) to prevent us from becoming involved. This is why the fight against FETÖ and the PKK is a struggle for independence, it is a homeland defense against outside intervention.
The two cities, Mosul and Aleppo, will undertake major roles in the region’s fate. The two cities’ identity, personality and liberation are going to be directly related to the geography’s liberation. Those establishing control through the two cities should be noted. The results of any “foreign” power taking control over these two cities may be fatal. The history-making power of city identities that are now capable of getting ahead of countries should not be neglected.
The U.S. and its partners consisting mostly of terrorist organizations is planning a very dangerous game through Mosul. A completely sectarian clash-adjusted intervention can be sensed. The issue is no longer Daesh. Daesh has played its part and it is time for it to step off the stage. Mosul plans post-Daesh are important, as the game is being set up based on this. An intervention made with Shiite groups, the Iran-axis Baghdad administration and with the PKK may ignite the fire of sectarian clashes.
A danger greater than invasion
Maybe we are getting to the second stage after the invasion of Iraq. The geopolitical plan to be applied through sectarian conflicts is being activated. If that is the case, it means we will face even more dire results than the invasion of Iraq. All of the U.S.’s interventions aimed at the region are based on separation and creating conflict. This is sometimes done through ethnic identity, sometimes through sectarian identity. This time it might be activating the sectarian identity to fire a regional-scale nuclear bomb.
This could also be the reason for their plan to keep Turkey out. Because Turkey is the sole country that will prevent regional-scale sectarian clashes or capable of restraining it in a confined space. Even preventing such a global plan may be reason to attack Turkey. However, Turkey’s hand is stronger than it is thought. Even if we leave aside the plans in 1926, the current developments alone create a reason to intervene for Turkey. The call of Sunni Arabs and Turkmens in the region to intervene creates a legitimate reason. Tal Afar in particular is an area Turkey feels directly responsible and any threat aimed at Tal Afar is clear reason for intervention.
A sudden, surprising game-ruining intervention
Within the context of the new national defense doctrine, we are required to enter Syrian and Iraqi territory in depth in a sudden and surprising way and from multiple areas and ruin this global game. These interventions are realities that cannot be neglected or postponed for both the territorial integrity of those countries and the defense of Turkey. Even if it seems minor to some today, the vital importance of these will be realized within a year or a couple of years and by then it will be too late for some things.
Hence, operations similar to the Euphrates Shield are necessary from at least three more areas. For this reason, Turkey’s own conditions and justifications should be prioritized to intervene in Mosul and its surroundings, even if it is not wanted by Washington, Baghdad or Tehran. The discourse of being dragged into the Middle East swamp is a blinding discourse. If Turkey does not do this, every area it fails to intervene will become areas of intervention into Turkey.
We have no choice but to establish our own defense shield from the Mediterranean to the Iranian border. This is the only strategy that will protect Turkey and negate the regional games.
The big plan: Mecca in the south, Istanbul in the north
Staying in defense is death. No country in our region will succeed to remain standing with the defense understanding. The international system, the conditions of the geography have become so aggressive that every country incapable of stopping the threat outside, unable to erect bastions on the outside will be divided.
If you take note, because of this, almost every country is rapidly trying to take steps forward. While the wearing attacks aimed at Turkey have become revealed, while the will set to carry the war to our home has become certain, our responsibility is to move the war far away from our home. Besides, we are going to be in Syria and Iraq not as a foreign force, but as a country fighting at home.
This is why the Mosul-Aleppo line is a new security map for us and therefore preparation should be made for areas of intervention within the scope of this line.
Nobody should take today’s conditions lightly or perceive them as individual, small areas of crisis. Follow the footsteps well, pay strict attention to where they will go. The crisis and chaos today is going to target Mecca in the south and Istanbul in the north in a much shorter time than we think. This is the big plan.
*Ibrahim Karagül is a Turkish writer and journalist. He is the editor-in-chief of Turkish Yeni Şafak newspaper.
(Published in Yeni Şafak Turkish newspaper on Monday, Oct. 17, 2016)