Andy McCarthy is worried about a Turkish plan to drag NATO into a war in Syria:
Now, Turkey appears poised to exploit its NATO membership to force the Western intervention in Syria that the Muslim Brotherhood and allied Islamists have been calling for.
McCarthy’s claim was mistaken when he made it two days ago. The Turkish government’s response since then flatly contradicts this assessment. McCarthy seems not to have noticed that Turkey’s response to the jet incident is nothing like what he says it is. Turkey isn’t retaliating in response to the downing of the jet, and it certainly isn’t trying to “force” Western intervention in Syria.
Military intervention has no support from the leading Turkish opposition party and it has only very limited support among the Turkish public. It isn’t even a preferred position inside Erdogan’s own party. Someone must have forgotten to inform the AKP’s supporters of their secret plans for Syria. Whatever else Erdogan is, he is a populist politician interested in maintaining his party’s hold on power inside Turkey. Erdogan isn’t likely to risk his party’s position by plunging into an insane military adventure in the middle of a Syrian civil war. McCarthy’s hyperventilating is a good example of how anti-jihadist antipathy to Turkey’s current government can blind Americans to political realities in Turkey and the wider region.
McCarthy is similarly prevented from seeing that administration policy in Syria is not what he claims it is:
Still, there is little doubt that Obama — who regards Erdogan as his best friend and strategic partner in the region — is inclined to jump in on the Brotherhood’s side. He would have done so already if the November election were not looming.
If one assumes wrongly that Erdogan is intent on entangling Turkey directly in a Syrian war, it isn’t that much of a leap to conclude that Obama would like to do the same thing. As it happens, Turkish reluctance to become directly involved in Syria’s conflict is one of the reasons why there is so little interest in the U.S. to become directly involved. If Syria’s immediate neighbor is wary of direct intervention, there is no reason for the U.S. to be any less cautious. As far as the Libyan intervention was concerned, Turkey was also strongly opposed to Western military intervention there, and like many other members of NATO Turkey hoped to minimize the alliance’s involvement there. If there is one nation that has been fairly consistent in its opposition to Western military interventions in the Near East and North Africa, it has been the Turks. The idea that Turkey is the one itching to pull the U.S. and NATO into a war on its doorstep has no merit.