Turkey’s Iraq Policy: Problematic Policies Have Produced Problematic Outcomes
The Turkish government was taken by surprise by ISIS’ victories. Ankara had no sympathy for the sectarian politics of Maliki government, but it had little appreciation of how weak it was in the face of ISIS. The unpleasant outcomes of ISIS’ success became evident quickly. The success ISIS has enjoyed first in Syria and then in Iraq, and the slow and incoherent Allied reaction, raises the possibility of the emergence of a political entity in Iraq that tries to export its ideology to Turkey and recruit militants. Second, ISIS has invaded provinces where major Turkmen communities reside, causing popular indignation among the Turkish public. Third, any concerted action against ISIS may force Turkey to answer the difficult question of how it is to cope with the Syrian Kurdish challenge. Fourth, because of the alleged divergence between the words and deeds of the Turkish government, its credibility has been undermined. It is imperative that both Turkey and other members of the Western Alliance reconsider the state of their relationship, trying to repair the erosion of the sense of community.