Erdogan’s Open Door for Jihadists Leaves Turkish Foreign Policy in Ruins

© AFP 2022 / ADEM ALTANTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a mukhtars meeting at the presidential palace on November 26, 2015 in Ankara
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a mukhtars meeting at the presidential palace on November 26, 2015 in Ankara - Sputnik International
Turkey’s open border policy for Islamic fighters into Syria has destroyed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s dream of making Ankara the dominant power in the Middle East, Woodrow Wilson Center Middle East Program Director Henri Barkey stated in a report published on Friday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — Barkey argued that as Turkey’s Western allies concentrated on destroying the Islamic State, Erdogan continued to focus on ousting Syrian President Bashar Assad and preventing Syria’s Kurdish fighters from establishing an autonomous region.

"The unintended consequences of tens of thousands of foreign fighters converging on Syria soon became apparent," Barkey wrote in his study of the damage done to Turkish foreign policy. "Many of the foreign fighters gravitated toward the Islamic State, helping it become the power it is today."

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Russia’s air campaign against the Islamic State in Syria has further isolated Erdogan, Barkey explained. After Turkey shot down a Russian jet in November 2015, he added, Ankara has faced a rash of costly economic, political and military reactions from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Moreover, Ankara has been routinely criticized by credible human rights organizations for the deteriorating liberties in Turkey and the subsequent crackdown on Kurds, which resulted in numerous civilian deaths.

As a result, Erdogan’s foreign policy "lies in ruins," as does Turkey’s goal of becoming a regional leader, Barkey concluded.

The Islamic State, also known as Daesh, is a designated terrorist group outlawed in the United States, Russia and a host of other countries. The New York-based security intelligence firm Soufan Group estimated that up to 31,000 foreign fighters have joined the Islamic State.

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