Turkey was once a close friend with Syria, In 04/2010 they planned joint military exercises. Following the ‘Mavi Marmara’ incident with Israel, on 05/31/2010, which put an end to the long lasting strategic relations with Israel, on 02/11/2011, just days before the outburst of the “Arab Spring”, a semi official Turkish delegation headed by the Mavi Marmara’s organisers – the Turkish IHH – visited Iran’s capital Tehran.

During the delegation’s meeting with then Irani President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Nureddin Sirin – the head of the Turkish delegation –  said: “We are here today with the longing and the determination to build a Middle East without Israel and America, and to refresh our pledge to continue on the path of the Mavi Marmara Shahids.”  It seemed that Sunni Turkey found a common ground with Shiite Iran around the deep hatred to Israel.

The Arab Spring turned to be a deep Arab Winter. Over half a million were killed in the Middle East as it crumbled to its basic sectarian, ethnic  and religious ingredients. Millions of refugees fled the region, mainly to Europe, countries like Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Libya & Yemen collapsed and do not exist as sovereign countries anymore  and all the Middle East is gripped in a total war between Sunnis and Shiites, on one hand, and between Jihad and Western Democracies on the other hand. Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan became one of the most extreme opposition against Bashar Assad’s regime and is, nowadays, supporting all kind of opposition groups in Syria providing that they are fighting the Syrian regime. Turkey is also the main economic and recruiting path for I.S.I.S. The Turkish position placed Turkey in a collision course with Russia and Iran.   

There are, now, simultaneous violent conflicts and wars in the Middle East: Syrian rebels against Assad’s Alawite regime in Syria; Jihadi Islamic State (ISIS) against some of the rebels, against the Iraqi pro Iranian regime, all the minorities and Christians, including the Western Democracies and all the “traditional’ Arab national regimes; Saudi Arabia and a large Sunni coalition against the Yemeni Shiite Houthi rebels backed by Iran; Turkey against the Syrian Bashar’s regime but also against the Kurdish minority and its  aspiration to a Kurdish Independent State: The Russians against the Anti-Assad rebels, not necessarily against the Islamic State; Sunnis are fighting Shiites all over the region and a loose coalition of Western countries is fighting the Islamic State but not most of the rebel group in Syria but only with airstrikes and special operations,: Somewhere there is also the traditional conflict between the Palestinians and Israel.

Recently there is a new bitter conflict heating up in the Middle East –  the conflict between Shiite Iran and Sunni Turkey and it is escalating by the day over Syria but also over regional hegemony .

On 11/22/2015 Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet which bombarded positions of a Turkmen militia backed by Turkey that is fighting Assad’s regime in North-Western Syria. The event immediately put the two countries on a verge of war. On 12/13/2015 Iraqi Shiaa regime found out that Turkey deployed a battalion to Northern Iraq with some tanks to support the Iraqi Kurds against ISIS (while fighting other Kurds in Syria and Eastern Turkey ).

After international pressure Turkey forces pulled out from Iraq but about 150 of them, allegedly “trainers”, remained in Bashika, in Kurdish territory 23 k”m Northern to Mosul on the border with ISIS. Yesterday their camp was shelled, on Wednesday 12/16/2015, and at least 4 Turkish soldier were injured. The Kurds reported much higher numbers. Although ISIS claimed responsibility another Iranian-backed powerful militia “Kataeeb Hisbullah” (the Party of God’s Battalions ) claimed responsibility too. It is not so important who was really behind the shelling but it is important that Iran claimed, indirectly, the attack on Turkish positions in Iraq.

Today, Thursday 12/17/2015, probably as a response, a military official in Ankara said that Turkey will build a military base in Qatar. Qatar, in the Gulf, can easily disrupt Iranian future export of oil through the Gulf. Putin, an ally to Iran. said today in an annual media conference in Moscow that “he sees no prospect of improving relations with the current leadership of Turkey”   

So a new bitter conflict is heating up in the Middle East with worldwide implications that only make the regional situation even more confusing and complicated.
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