The Pentagon said that US troops in Syria “came under artillery fire from Turkish positions”, while Turkey’s Ministry of Defense has denied intentionally shelling US positions.
Erdogan may be seeking a pretext to create a rupture point to take Turkey out of NATO and drop the alliance with the ever more hostile and violent US regime.
Americans are not willing to give him such excuses by clearing the field and moving US troops to safe locations in Syria.
What is more, the Turkish army is very much controlled by neo-nationalists and Islamist figures after the mass purge since 2016.
Almost 70% of all generals and admirals were dismissed, forced to retire and/or jailed since then, leaving a big vacuum in senior leadership. Many ranks in the Turkish army are now filled with anti-US and Islamist zealots.
They may very well decide to take the matter on their own hands on the ground even if Erdoğan is not willing to risk such an escalation with the USA.
On Sunday, Turkey’s deputy chairman of the ruling party AKP Numan Kurtulmus admitted on a TV interview that Turks knew all the coordinates of the US posts, lending credence to allegations that this was a deliberate rather than accidental strike.
It now depends on how far Washington is willing to go. So far, we have not really seen a hard come down on the Erdogan government from the USA that simply chose to engage with Turks rather than punish Turkey, possibly out of concern to not antagonize all the Turks.
This may change very quickly, however. If it happens and the US resorts to shock and awe tactics, that would be a whole lot of different ballgame.
The US regime may decide to go after Erdogan, his family members, his business and political associates instead of punishing average Turks to lay the blame on the leadership.
We may see targeted sanctions that will drive a wedge between his support base and Erdoğan’s inner circle, which may, in turn, embolden internal dissent within his own party.
Sputnik / ABC Flash Point News 2019.