‘Turkey can fight ISIS without external assistance’
Daoud Khairallah believes that it would be great if NATO convinced Turkey to stop helping ISIS.
“The [help to] the ISIS fighters and all the derivatives of al-Qaeda and affiliates of al-Qaeda, the sale of the fuel and whatever - all that has been done with the assistance of Turkey,” said the professor.
“Definitely, it is able to protect itself from any assault whatever power, any power of the countries surrounding Turkey,” he added.
Another Middle East expert, Professor Huseyin Bagci added that Turkey has the second largest army in NATO after the USA and that is why it faces no direct threat from Islamic State.
“Turkey could destroy ISIS within a couple of hours using its air force and even military force…and Turkey has already hundreds of tanks building a wall of steel… and ready to go to the other side of the border before there is an attack by ISIS”, Bagci told RT.
Professor Khairallah says that if Turkey wanted to take on ISIS it could definitely do so without any assistance from NATO allies or anyone else. However, he doubts that Ankara is dedicated to eliminate ISIS or terrorism.
President Recep Erdogan told CNN International that Turkey is ready to send ground forces to the other side if necessary, according to Professor Bagci.
“Turkey is not forced to enter Syria. Theoretically speaking, there is a possibility. However, my expectation is that the government would use this option as the last option. Turkey is taking cautious measures not to give the impression to the other side that they can anytime come to the other side of the border,” said Bagci.
He also doesn’t expect ISIS would dare attack Turkey. “But if Turkey is on the other side of the border then Turkey and NATO would invade Syria. It is another problem because it is still under Syrian sovereignty,” he added.
Bagci thinks that at the moment the Turkish air force could destroy many ISIS structures, and ISIS knows exactly that any attack to Turkey means an attack on NATO.
He referred to Article 5 of the NATO treaty: “if one NATO member is attacked by any foreign force NATO is obliged to come to help.”
Professor Khairallah believes that there must be someone prepared to intervene on the ground: “Erdogan has been saying that he is interested in having no-fly zones. This would require using missiles. And then what would happen if Syria, for example, invites Russia, and Iran, and other countries? And it would be totally legitimate and within the boundaries of what the UN Security Council has authorized if they are helping to get rid of ISIS.”
“What would we do then? We would have created an environment where a clash would be inevitable. It is very dangerous what Turkey and its allies are doing and it is dangerous what they have done,” he added.
Bagci says Turkey is the only NATO country which has a border with Syria and in direct “touch” with ISIS.
“[Military involvement] would be a big problem for Turkey because any military involvement requires not only human life but also financial strength,” he said.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.