News & Politics

Dear President Erdogan: It's Time to Wage All-Out War on ISIS

Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan (AP Photo)

With the news that ISIS has claimed responsibility for the horrific New Year’s attack in Istanbul, it’s time for the Turkish government to finally do what it should’ve done years ago: to declare an all-out war on ISIS, wherever the group’s jihadists may be.

In late 2016, Turkey finally decided to go into Syria (and Iraq). The Turks should’ve done so much earlier, but better late than never. However, despite the Turkish military adventure in Syria, the Turkish army is still not using all of its considerable resources. That has to change, starting now.

Turkey has the second-largest army in NATO. Only the U.S. military is larger, technologically more developed, and simply stronger. No other NATO country even comes close to the Turks. This means that there’s no excuse for Turkey not to go all in and wipe ISIS off the face of the map in Syria, Iraq … and in Turkey itself.

It’s undoubtedly not very popular to say it out loud in Turkey, but we’re all well aware of the fact that Turkey has a serious ISIS problem, not only because Syria is its neighbor, but also because many ISIS jihadists (and members of other radical Islamic groups) are currently living in Turkey. The Turkish government knows this, too, probably better than anyone else. Call me old school, but I believe that there’s just one way to deal with your mortal enemies, no matter where they may be: kill them.

Yes, all of them.

If Ankara wants, the Turkish military can destroy ISIS’ little “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq in one fell swoop. It’s time for President Erdogan to tell them to do so, starting now. Rev up the attacks. Let your special forces loose. Let the great Turkish army do what it does best: destroy the country’s enemies. Unlike, say, Obama or European leaders, Erdogan won’t have to worry too much about collateral damage. In contrast to the sissies in the West, Turks — military officers, politicians, soldiers, and civilians alike — still understand that war is an inherently messy and extremely bloody business. When the Turkish military is set loose on ISIS, some collateral damage will certainly happen. But that’s nothing compared to the damage ISIS will do in Turkey if its Syrian and Iraqi safe haven isn’t destroyed.

Furthermore, the Turkish intelligence knows perfectly well that Turkey has a domestic ISIS problem as well. Yes, a number of jihadists are currently living in Turkey. This is a known fact. Erdogan has to treat those killers in the only manner they understand: with the use of force and zero tolerance. The MIT will be able to identify many of these extremists. Round them up, put them in jail, deport them, or — when they resist — kill them. That may not sound very “enlightened” and all, but everybody with even an ounce of rationality understands that there’s no other way to deal with terrorists. It’s you or them; kill or be killed. We all saw what the Turkish authorities are capable of when they declared one group or another “the enemy” after the failed coup of July 15. How about doing the same to ISIS? I’m sure that Turkish civilians and foreign tourists (who are a major source of income for the Turkish economy) will be much obliged.