Tayyip Erdogan, the president of Turkey, is on a weak wicket at home – yet he dreams of grandeur in the Middle East. The repercussions of the Turkish army's invasion of Syria have been terrible. The self-proclaimed Islamic State – ISIS – has just released a video showing two soldiers being burned alive. It's a shocking video and the men are shown being asked to walk forward on all fours like dogs and then being burned alive. The video released by ISIS all over the web has a statement from one of the soldiers asking the Turkish government to stop fighting their Muslim brothers. The video is a shocking reminder of the burning to death in a cage of a Jordanian pilot who was captured by ISIS.

Turkish army in Syria

Turkey intervened in Syria on August 24 in support of groups who are friendly to Turkey as well as break Kurdish rebels who have long opposed the country. The Turkish army, despite having air cover as well as heavy artillery and tanks, has not been able to make much headway. In fact, the Turkish army has suffered moderate to heavy casualties. Nearly 38 Turkish soldiers have been killed in combat and Erdogan is not moved. He has decided to press on with the attacks and in a stoic statement said," yes we will have to lay the martyrs to rest."

Erdogan and Turkey

Erdogan is himself on a sticky wicket. He is still haunted by the coup attempt against him, in which he feels the US and the CIA had a hand.

He has already clouded his relations with Russia first by shooting a fighter jet and now the assassination of the Russian ambassador in Ankara. In addition, Kurdish and other opponents of his regime, including ISIS, are carrying out frequent bomb attacks in Turkey and hundreds have been killed. His attempt to show Turkish might in Syria as a revenge for attacks in the country has not been a success and the army is still battling to achieve its objectives though many months have elapsed.

Last word

Turkey is itself in a state of flux as Erdogan goes about arresting hundreds of perceived sympathizers of the coup attempt. It will be interesting to see how President Donald Trump reacts to the volatile situation in the Middle East.

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