Long thread: In 2019-2020 Turkey met senior Hamas leaders twice, in a red carpet welcome in August 2020 and with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul on December 14, 2019.
Now, that timeline, the December meeting was just after Turkey had threatened the US and basically got a green light for an invasion of Syria to attack the US-backed SDF; abandoning US posts which Russia would soon enter and sign a deal with Turkey; bbc.com/news/world-mid…
So let's understand the context. Back in 2019 Turkey had such a hold over US policy, via pro-Ankara individuals who wanted to outsource the "anti-ISIS" campaign to Ankara, even though we know Ankara had done nothing against ISIS...and ISIS members had mostly fled to Turkey.
The same US admin that was very pro-Israel...was also super pro-Ankara...so much so that Ankara was openly hosting Hamas. Turkey was accused of enabling Hamas to plan attacks at the time telegraph.co.uk/news/2019/12/1…
By 2020 the support for Hamas had grown to the granting of citizenship, reports said; telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/08/1…
Only in August 2020 did the US Trump admin finally slam the Turkey red carpets for Hamas terrorists; reuters.com/article/us-usa…
Why did Ankara feel it had a green light from its friends in DC, its lobbyists and friends close to the former US admin, to host Hamas? Why was Ankara rewarded systematically for that behavior, from destroying Afrin to getting a green light to attack US partners in E. Syria?
Who were the voices inside or close to the US admin in 2018-2020 speaking to Ankara and saying "sure, host Hamas, attack our partners in eastern Syria, don't worry, we won't say anything."
What was going on in late 2019 to early 2020 that gave Ankara this feeling of total impunity to attack and invade...then send mercenaries to Libya and encourage war against Armenia...expand operations in Iraq.
The contrast with the current US admin is major. Ankara was given total impunity to ethnically cleanse Afrin of 170,000 people and then invade Tel Abyad and cause another 200,000 to flee. With barely a word of critique from the US.
This Hobbesian world that Ankara was encouraged to create made Hamas feel it was basically a state when it visited Turkey...it was treated as a state...not an armed terrorist group.
Was there a word from key US officials at the time who were part of the pro-Ankara view about these Hamas meetings. Do countries like Turkey really host Hamas terrorists with red carpets so often without feeling they got a stamp of approval from their "US ally"?
I think it's reasonable to question what happened in 2019-2020 and how Turkey's extremist behavior got a green light until it became so flagrant.
And now look at Ankara's shift...suddenly instead of hosting terrorists and being a highway for ISIS trafficking...it's claiming that it's ready to talk to Egypt, reduce the MB, talk to the Saudis...not just buy S-400s from Russia and hang out with Iran and Hamas.
The narrative of the Trump admin was that it was pro-Israel, but another narrative within the admin was pro-Ankara people who sought to enable Ankara's worst abuses. This was sold to the White House and others as "we need Ankara against Iran," the real story was Ankara-Hamas.
See the story about "Ankara will help against Iran" was entirely a myth, probably those selling it knew it was a lie...Ankara was selling this but openly hosting Hamas, which is also backed by Iran.
Now it has changed. The US has only slightly shifted in dealing with Ankara...but the slight shift has appeared to have major changes in Ankara's rhetoric and behavior. This would tend to prove that the narrative of 2019-2020 needs to be understood in a new context.
There is a quiet but persistent belief among some commentators that the West needs to support extremists in the Middle East, meaning working with religious theocrats, and that can include HTS, Hamas, MB, etc.
Among these types you can hear things like "we need to work with the Sunnis"...but what they mean by that is not really "Sunnis" but they mean the far-right like AKP...or Hamas or HTS..."against Iran"...even quietly some said "ISIS can balance Iran"...even though this is nonsense
You can hear this narrative when you read accounts of the ISIS war that disregard ISIS abuses and only focus on how the US made a mistake working with the SDF and Iraqis against ISIS "destroying Raqqa and Mosul" or "working with the SDF against NATO ally Turkey"
We hear these narratives quietly in texts about how the US "worked with Iran against ISIS under Obama"....a totally nonsensical narrative...but one which then claims "the US alienated Sunnis in the war"...etc...etc...
Is it possible that when Ankara was hosting Hamas, as if Hamas was a state, in 2019 that it was telling its friends in DC "we need to work with Hamas...this is part of the Iran strategy...just like working with HTS"...and that this nonsense was actually seen as logical.
Of course, the result, as we can see, is Ankara's abusive occupation of northern Syria, fanning extremism, ethnic-cleansing...AND...the empowerment of Iran and Russia...and Hamas getting legitimization via Ankara.
The result is an example of unintended consequences, Cold War thinking, naive views and a quiet adoration for extremists. A dangerous embrace of extremism in Ankara was enabled and quietly green lighted for very bad reasons.
To understand the logic that underpins those who think extremism is romantic and liked seeing Hamas in Ankara, HTS as an "asset" etc...is these folk were the same ideology that suggested partnering with Hitler/fascism in the 1930s against the Soviet Union.
There was a strain of thinking in the US, UK and the West that suggested working with fascism or at least tolerating it to "fight the Soviets"...this is the same idiocy that suggests working with extremists against Iran.
We now know that the right answer in the 1930s was NOT to work with fascism against the Soviets...but to fight the fascist menace first and then contain the Soviets. You can't work with fascists to defeat totalitarianism...you only end up with totalitarianism.
Sadly those who suggest "using" HTS, Hamas or Ankara's far-right or other extremist groups to "balance" Iran...don't understand...they will only enable Iran and destroy countries with extremism...it doesn't "balance Iran"...extremism is not a balance against itself.

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