• Dangerously reckless NATO member wants war to hide criminal oil operations, ties with ISIS.
By Richard Walker —
Turkey’s decision to shoot down a Russian jet fighter confirmed its status as a reckless member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance that is willing to start a wider war to protect its secret criminal enterprises across the Mideast.
On November 24, Turkish F-16s shot down a Russian military jet that had been operating along the Turkish border with Syria as part of a Russian military operation to bomb radical Islamic terrorists fighting the Syrian government. Turkey claimed that the Russian jet had violated its airspace but the Kremlin was quick to deny this, adding that its pilot, who ejected before the plane was hit, had been killed by rebel fighters in Syrian territory as he was parachuting to the ground.
Forgotten in much of the rhetoric following the unprecedented shoot-down was the fact that NATO had no official role in the Syrian conflict. Turkey, however, wanted to drag NATO into it. That was clear when Turkey, instead of contacting the Russian military immediately after the incident, sent an SOS to NATO headquarters in Brussels, invoking Article 4 of the NATO Treaty as a prelude to invoking Article 5 that requires all treaty members to come to the support of one that is being threatened. That did not work because most European members of NATO have long been deeply suspicious of Turkey’s role in Syria.
NATO’s own intelligence agency has a wealth of evidence, much of it from satellites but also from ground assets in Turkey, showing the constant movement of Islamic State (ISIS) oil into Syria, starting in 2013. NATO also has hundreds of photos of ISIS and al-Nusra fighters freely crossing Turkey’s border for rest, recreation, and medical treatment. Most European heads of state know that Turkey has encouraged the mass flow of Muslim migrants into Europe and has neglected to monitor fighters from ISIS and its affiliates using its territory as a pathway to Europe and Russia.
Washington, which calls the shots in NATO, has deliberately shielded Turkey from criticism at many high-level NATO summits because the Obama administration has been helping Turkey train and arm the militias trying to overthrow the government of Bashar al-Assad in Syria.
Israel has also been in the game, as evidenced by the capture of an Israeli colonel in Iraq who was seized along with ISIS fighters. Israel’s role in bombing Syria and working with the al-Nusra Front has been documented by this writer in the past as well. The United Nations has clear evidence of Israel’s links to the terrorists. It fits the Israeli narrative that supporting anti-Assad terrorists keeps them from focusing on Israel.
Turkey has long been a criminal state under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his extended family. There is the Turkey we all see in which Erdogan has eroded the country’s secular past in favor of building an Islamic state rooted in Sharia principles—a state in which there has been increasing censorship and restrictions on women and minorities.
In the shadows, there is the other Turkey. It is a massive organized crime syndicate controlled by former members of the country’s military and intelligence elites, as well as retired judges and policemen. This “secret” Turkey has benefited enormously from running huge consignments of weapons to ISIS, al Qaeda, and the al-Nusra Front. In return, ISIS has moved most of its stolen oil—billions of dollars of it—through Syria to Turkey.
That is why Erdogan convinced President Barack Hussein Obama and neocons in Washington that NATO should create a no-fly zone inside Syria next to Turkey’s border. What Erdogan was seeking was the creation of a protected zone in which oil could flow unimpeded. It would be a “corridor” in which the anti-Assad militias, including ISIS, could train and recuperate, without fear of being attacked by Russian and Syrian bombers.
The Russian jet shot from the sky was targeting the area Turkey has been using as a de facto terrorist oil and weapons passageway inside Syria. Shooting the jet from the sky was Turkey’s way of trying to argue for new rules to convert that passageway into a no-fly zone, and draw NATO into a conflict with Russia.
Turkey desperately wants to own Syria, particularly its natural resources. The Turks and Saudis believe Syria is the ideal route for moving oil and gas to Europe, bypassing Russia in the process.
Some in Washington share that ambition, knowing it would hurt Russia’s energy economy and prevent a planned Iran-Iraq-Syria-Europe pipeline. It would therefore not be surprising if Turkey had the green light from Washington to shoot down the Russian plane.
The problem for Turkey and Washington is that European members of NATO want no part of Turkey’s future. Turkey by its actions has also exposed the dangerous duplicity of Obama’s Syria policy of bombing ISIS while supporting its efforts to overthrow the Syrian government.
European diplomats this writer spoke with for this article agreed that a majority of Europeans believe Turkey’s leadership is reckless and that Washington has been playing a dangerous game in Syria and Iraq by helping Turkey and the Arab states like Saudi Arabia arm the very militias that are planning to target the West.
Washington has also ignored the fact that its Arab allies have been recruiting mercenaries worldwide to be their boots on the ground in Yemen.
Richard Walker is the pen name of a former N.Y. news producer.