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YUSUF KANLI

yusuf.kanli@hurriyet.com.tr

YUSUF KANLI > Syria complications

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Is there anything abnormal in the intelligence organization of a country telling parliamentarians of a border region that they should take security measures and would do better to avoid traveling to the region for some time? If there is a continued civil war in the neighboring country; if Turkey became a “free entry inn” for refugees fleeing the war, as well as all other elements leading the area to become highly volatile, then there cannot be anything abnormal in such a “service” by an intelligence agency.

 If the intelligence warning came to the deputies only few days before an important religious holiday with the evaluation that “a sensational event was highly possible to be undertaken by the separatist gang,” the warning of course ought to be treated very seriously.

What’s abnormal is if relevant authorities of Turkey had some intelligence that a “sensationalist action” would be undertaken by the gang in areas affected by Syrian civil war, why couldn’t the Gaziantep car bomb be prevented and the lives of scores of citizens be saved?

Could it be that the intelligence team was preoccupied with following critics of the government? Was it not the head of the intelligence team who, according to “leaked” details of the Oslo talks, told PKK “negotiators” that he knew Turkish cities were turned by the gang into bomb stockpiles?

With the “leak” that such negotiations were being held between the government and the gang, the “Oslo process” collapsed. What has the intelligence organization done to cleanse cities of those PKK bomb caches since then? Or, to talk of a more recent event, was the car laden with bombs removed from the front of the police station with suspicion that it might be a car bomb? Is it of any value for Beşir Atalay to say “We knew from where the car came, who hired it, how it was brought to the place it exploded and have some idea about the man who left the car before the event?” For God sake why do we have an intelligence service and spend so much money on intelligence if we are to learn of such details only after an explosion and the heinous murder of our citizens?

Of course the intelligence report that Turkey has become a “free entry inn” because of the fire in next-door Syria and the government’s liberal “welcome to all guests” policy. Not only has $250 million been spent so far on the “guests” who are “refugees,” but they are not officially refugees because Turkey does not accept refugees from the east and thus cannot officially ask for international assistance. In this way Turkey has imported the Syrian crisis as well. Hatay and Gaziantep have been filled with agents of all sorts and become highly insecure. Worse, the Sunni-solidarity drive of the Islamist government of Ankara made Turkey a “front” in the Syrian civil war. Turkish citizens have begun to be kidnapped (in Lebanon for example). But even worse is the shift in the separatist terrorist attacks from the Iraq border regions to the Syrian border areas.

Of course, a power vacuum in Iraq was one reason for the gang’s increased cross-border attacks as seen over the past decade. Now, five border towns of Syria are under the control of the local organization of the separatist gang there. The central Syrian administration has no control in the border area. Thus, the gang’s cross-border attacks have shifted to the Syrian border regions.

Pouring oil on fire next-door eventually might prove to be very costly…

August/22/2012

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