Last night’s terror attack at an Istanbul night club is only the latest terror attack against Turkey. With 35 dead from the attack on New Years eve, the 45 killed in Ataturk airport last month, and a failed coup, it has become apparent that Turkey is increasingly growing unstable. Erdogan would like us to believe he has everything under control, but the pressures growing against his rule from within as well as pressures pushing against him from Russia and infuriated NATO members, his rule is growing far more unstable than previously believed.
In the Istanbul attack, CNN Turk reported the two attackers were dressed in Santa costumes. Some witnesses claimed they were speaking Arabic (not Turkish).
“Unfortunately, at least 35 of our citizens lost their lives. One was a police officer. Forty people are receiving treatment in hospitals,” Istanbul governor Vasip Sahin told reporters, according to the AFP news agency. “What happened today is a terror attack.”
Playing with ISIS is Like Playing with Fire
With Turkey working with Russia to shut down the Syrian war, ISIS (its once loyal proxy) is now turning on Erdogan and his government. When Erdogan opened the flood gates into northern Syria for ISIS to cross in order to destabilize the country, he never imagined Russia coming into the war. The plan was always for Erdogan to insert Turkey into Syria and Iraq as the great stabilizer. He won this role from Obama and NATO.
The Russian intervention has caused Turkey to pull back its support of ISIS and other Jihadist groups and make peace with Putin. This of course makes Erdogan into an apostate as far as ISIS is concerned and makes anything in Turkey a target for Jihadists.
Kurdish Rebellion in the Works
Russia has a very real interest in making sure Erdogan stays on the defensive. One gives time for Syria to finish reasserting its sovereignty throughout its country and second Turkey has less reason to interfere with Russian aspirations in the region, including northern Iraq and the eastern Mediterranean. Putin always works in two spheres of influence. One is overt, like we saw in Crimea and Syria. The other is a page ripped from the KGB cold War playbook and that is covertly funding and inspiring revolution. This we see in the Donbass region of the Ukraine. We are about to see it in southern Turkey, which has a solid Kurdish population itching for freedom.
Russia’s interests in the region intersect with Kurdish aspirations. It’s only a matter of time until Turkey feels these aspirations in a far more serious way.
Whether its ISIS, Russia, or Kurdish Independence, Erdogan’s Turkey is a country which is no longer safe or secure.