Will Erdogan Go Before Assad? If It’s up to Obama and Putin – Yes

Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin are rumored by intelligence circles in Washington and Moscow to be secretly conferring on ways to bring about Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan’s ouster. He is viewed as having driven himself into a corner as a major nuisance for their forthcoming drive for the Islamic State’s extinction in Syria and Iraq,
It is the ultimate irony that the US and Russia have tentatively agreed to leave the Syrian dictator Bashar Assad in place for an undefined transitional period, while they are bent on dislodging the one Muslim leader who, along with Obama, vowed to remove him.
Last year, the US and Russian presidents got together under the radar for a political resolution of Iran’s nuclear threat through a landmark deal with six world powers. They then quietly continued their diplomatic and military partnership for moves to end the five-year Syrian war. Now, they are quietly discussing ways and means of vanquishing the Islamic State once and for all in Syria and Iraq, whether jointly or in separate operations.
(See the separate item in this issue on the state of that campaign).
Those same intelligence circles conclude that the success of the anti-ISIS campaign hangs heavily on Erdogan’s removal from the scene, for the following reasons:
1. The Turkish leader refuses to give an inch in his war on the Kurds.
2. Obama and Putin have agreed to assign the Syrian Kurds a key role in their campaign to eradicate ISIS, for which they have promised this minority a self-ruling territory in northern Syria up to the Turkish frontier. Attached to this promise is a tacit pledge of US and Russian military protection against a Turkish attack.
3. On April 5, Erdogan sent his prime minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, to state in comments addressed to Washington and Moscow that Ankara’s policy regarding the Kurdish people is uncompromising.
Davutoglu said “Nobody should expect from us to address the terror organizations which have arms and blood on their hands as an interlocutor. From now on, we have a single interlocutor; that is our nation and each individual of our nation.”
“Terror organization” was a direct reference to the PKK (the Kurdistan Workers’ Party). But Turkey has also declared Kurdish separatists in Syria enemies. Erdogan is willing to go to war on this issue, even if this brings Turkey into confrontation with the American and Russian forces running the Syrian Kurdish militias against ISIS.
The Turkish president said himself the day before: “Those who are currently meeting with the terrorist organization (namely, the US and Russia) speak of ‘negotiation’. But there are no issues to be negotiated.”
DEBKA Weekly’s military and intelligence sources report that, straight after returning home from the Washington Nuclear Conference last week, Erdogan called a meeting of Turkish military and intelligence chiefs. He informed them that Turkey was on the threshold of the harshest period in his 13 years in power and that they should prepare for the worst. The Turkish president is obviously in no mood for compromise on his single-minded focus on the Kurdish foe.

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