Chomsky: Syrian al-Nusra main recipient of Turkish aid

World famous linguist Noam Chomsky has claimed that the Syrian extremist group al-Nusra has been a major recipient of Turkish aid and accused Turkish intelligence of selling out US-trained moderate Syrian forces.
andquotTurkey is the main supporter of jihadi organizations, which are merely distinguished by the Islamic State [the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)],andquot Chomsky told a packed group of students, journalists and activists at Boston College on Saturday. Chomskyand’s speech was part of a conference on press freedom in the Middle East organized by the Peace Islands Institute.
Chomsky is not the first to accuse Turkey of what many have called implicit support for radical groups in Syria opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Turkish authorities have been the subject of much criticism for the porous and loosely inspected border that has been a major transit route for Syria-bound foreign fighters.
Chomsky said Turkey has been very resistant to attacking ISIL, despite a recent deal between Turkey and the US on the use of Turkish airfields for US warplanes. He added that the US claimed or believed that Turkey would join the fight against ISIL after the deal. andquotBut they didnand’t,andquot Chomsky said, recalling that Turkey instead attacked Kurds in Iraq and Syria.
Chomskyand’s remarks illustrated a prevailing belief in the West that Turkeyand’s agreement to let the US use jets from Turkish air bases was a ploy to go after the Kurds. Since shortly after the deal with the US, Turkey has largely focused its air campaign on Kurdistan Workersand’ Party (PKK) elements in northern Iraq and has frequently shelled Syrian Kurdish groups close to Turkeyand’s border.
Chomsky claimed that Turkey is supporting jihadi fronts in Syria, al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham in particular. He described al-Nusra as the main recipient of the Turkish aid.
andquotTurkish support for al-Nusra apparently is so strong that the first contingent of 50 Pentagon-trained moderate Syrian rebels was immediately wiped out by the al-Nusra front as soon as they entered into Syria,and” Chomsky said. andquotAnd it seems the [al-Nusra] front was informed by the Turkish intelligence to get ready to wipe out this first contingent, according to pretty credible reports,andquot Chomsky added.
h2Turkeyand’s press freedom in shamblesh2 andquotJournalism is being murdered,andquot Chomsky said about Turkeyand’s poor state of press freedom. Recalling that the management of the ipek Media Group was taken over, the office was ransacked by police and more than 70 journalists were later fired, Chomsky said he applauds Turkish journalists and publishers who are courageously defending their right to dissent. He particularly highlighted the situation in Turkey, noting that journalists are defying the authorities to speak out despite a tremendous amount of pressure.
He said sidelining opposition media has become a bad habit in Turkey, which was ranked 149th out of 180 countries in the latest press freedom report of the press freedom aocacy body Reporters Without Borders (RSF). Chomsky also noted that intense government pressure on media owners has encouraged self-censorship.
He also threw cold water on the possibility of greater US protest regarding the violation of press freedom in Turkey, recalling that Washington continued to aid Turkey at a time when it was characterized by gross human rights violations against the Kurds in the mid-1990s.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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