charlesglass.net
Turkey may have stepped into its own ‘endless war’ in Syria
'The Turks have always pursued an unhappy policy in regard to native populations,' wrote German Gen. Erich Ludendorff of his World War I Ottoman allies. 'They have gone on the principle of taking everything and giving nothing. Now they had to reckon with these people (Kurds, Armenians and Arab tribes) as their enemies.' The Turkish army, driven out of Syria after four centuries in 1918 by the British and 'native populations,' is back. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's involvement in Syria reverses the policy of the republic's first president, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, that kept Turkey out of the Arab world. Ataturk looked westward and saw the futility of returning to lands that had rejected Turkish rule. That arrangement worked for Turkey until 2011, when the uprising in Syria opened the way to foreign interference. The United States, the United Kingdom, France, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates were backing assorted militias in their effort to depose Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Erdogan would not be left out. His border with Syria offered the most extensive terrain for infiltrating fighters and war materiel. Moreover, his Justice and Development Party had a long friendship with Syria's Muslim Brotherhood, whose attempt to depose al Assad's father, Hafez al Assad, in 1982 ended with the infamous massacre in Hama. Erdogan looked to the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots to play a leading role in the resistance to the younger al Assad. In 2012, a Syrian former Cabinet minister told me that Erdogan had asked al Assad to put Muslim Brothers into his Cabinet. When al Assad refused, the former minister said, Erdogan made clear that he would back all efforts to remove the president and replace him with Islamists…