Published On: Sun, Sep 22nd, 2019

Has Turkey changed its priorities in Syria after recent developments in the region

Has Turkey changed its priorities in Syria after recent developments in the region

Turkey got engaged in the events in Syria about 8 years ago and made its target very clear that Assad should step down, for democracy to be established in the country. It has also been voiced by opinion leaders that Turkey favored the idea of becoming the leader of Sunni Arab world, which unluckily has had a big share in what the country has had to go through so far, to include having to host over 4 million Syrian refuges at a cost of approximately US$ 40 billion. Moreover, Turkey’s relations with the surrounding/neighboring Arab countries has deteriorated, badly. Opinion leaders evaluating this point comment that Turkey counted on strategies and attempted moves beyond its power, horizon and border at the beginning, in specific.

However, based on latest developments and after having had to pay a high bill, it seems as if Turkey’s administration has come down to earth again and realized the most feasible solution and in fact the first priority for Turkey would be ensuring the indivisible integrity of Syria and “definitely not” a Syria without Assad.

Unluckily, this new understanding is not sufficient for the solution of the issue as Turkey has to deal with two different power groups in the region. The USA and YPG (armed Kurdish groups backed and supported by the USA) and Russia, Iran and Syria as the second alliance.

Obviously the USA is not very much willing to give up on big plans of realizing the Greater Middle East Project (as very clearly named by Condolezza Rise quite a while ago) and will not leave the field to Russia to put its own act on stage, alone. It is very clear now that the USA is up to having a new state established by Kurds in the region along Turkey’s southern border and eventually upgrading it to a KURDISH State that would likely claim territory from Turkey and Iran in the close future – on top its territory in Syria.

The question is “why is the USA so heavily focused on such a plan?” – for 3 major reasons, obviously:

1) To ensure security & existence of Israel in the region
2) To have a powerful say in the natural energy resources in the region
3) To have an armed power (a state) that could serve USA in case need be in the region
4) Last but not least, to disable Russia to become only super power in control of the region

Well, if Russia had not been thoroughly involved in the conflict, the USA could have achieved its targets quite easily. However, it’s apparent Putin has had plans too and has no intentions of keeping still and watching the USA do its own thing. In fact, he has already realized a “hundreds-of-years old” Russian dream of setting foot in the Mediterranean – thanks to 2 military bases on the Mediterranean coast, granted by Syria.

In other words, Turkey which now faces a threat arising from its southern border is simultaneously caught between two fires. It has come to such a point where it has to make a preference between Russia and the USA (who will obviously not confront each other long as nobody steps on nobody’s toes).

However the picture for Turkey is different and the possibility of a new state to be established by PYD (recognized as Kurdish terror group by several bodies, globally) with the support of the USA along its southern border is considered to be a very serious threat for Turkey – as well as Iran.

In fact Russia, Iran and Turkey have agreed on the following: The land currently controlled by Islamic Jihad groups in Syria should eventually be abandoned to Syrian Government and territorial integrity of this country should be secured – which is obviously in conflict with American plans.

Consequently, Turkey which had strictly adopted a different plan at the beginning of the conflict, has now changed strategy and decided to go along with the picture painted by Russia and Iran (rather than abiding by USA plans). Within this framework Turkey has grasped direct talks with Assad (who is in the same team with Russia and Iran) will be inevitable at a date not too far, to invalidate US plans.

In fact, ASSAD has made some important moves very recently by declaring general amnesty (related to many Syrians in Turkey as well) and written a letter to UN declaring PYD (Kurdish) as a terrorist formation which could in a way be considered as an approach to Turkey’s certain requirements.

The bottom line is as Turkey cannot confront two separate groups at the same time in two different sides of Euphrates, it is being pushed to block with Russia, Iran and Syria.

However having to confront the US in Syria does not necessarily mean the same in all other issues that require cooperation of two countries. Thus, Turkey might have to absorb any tolerable damage it will incur due to this conflict and still continue its cooperation with the USA, in compliance with its benefits.


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