Just type "Turko-Russian" into any search engine and you'll find nothing but wars that have raged throughout history. But speak of the devil and he shall appear, as they say – so let's skip that nasty aspect of our histories (and also avoid the ire of the Russian Ambassador Mr. Aleksei Erkhov – who takes exception to whatever I say).
In order to bring peace to Syria, the two leaders, Messrs. Vladimir Putin and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have opted to work together, listen to each other and concede to each other's opinions. Since this thaw, there have been major reconciliations, compromises and even agreements on almost every aspect of the problems emanating from Syria. The two countries were not supposed to see eye to eye on any issue with regards to Syria: Russia is the only ally of the Syrian regime; Mr. Putin is the only person in the world who is on speaking terms with Bashar Assad (with the exception members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, dead or alive). Turkey considers Assad a butcher of his own people, four million of whom currently reside in Turkey. Mr. Assad is in the process of sending even more to Turkey by furthering the bombing, killing and maiming of his people.
Amidst all of this, we come to the most contemporary and positive usage of the term "Turko-Russian": The Idlib agreement. The Brooking Institute referred to this deal as "a piece of the Syrian puzzle." A puzzle indeed! Russia and Turkey agreed to create a demilitarized buffer zone in Idlib to separate government forces from rebel fighters based there. President Putin himself had said it would be 15 to 25 kilometers (9 to 15 miles) wide, with troops from Russia and Turkey patrolling the area.
That was two years ago in October. What has happened since? Assad's (read: "Russian") warplanes have bombed the area three times and killed hundreds of civilian men, women and children, sending almost half a million more on a rush to the Turkish border. The regime's latest attack came four days ago, thus violating the cease-fire the Turco-Russian team declared a week ago. As you read this, another cease-fire that Mr. Putin announced on Friday is supposed to go into effect. But will it? The Syrian people would only benefit from the end of the civil war – as would Russia. However, Iran's crooked regime might think otherwise. Russia would not benefit if Syria were dismembered by the U.S.
This also calls to mind yet another truce Mr. Putin offered with Mr. Erdoğan while he was in Turkey last week: The U.N.-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli and the warlord Khalifa Haftar were also called on to end all hostilities.
Haftar's armed militia based in eastern Libya rejected the call, saying that their fight against "terrorist organizations that seized Tripoli and receive support from certain countries" would continue. Haftar's forces receive support from Russian paramilitary organizations, the United Arab Emirates and the Egyptian government; the GNA in Tripoli is supported by Turkey. The GNA also signed a maritime agreement as well as an accord on military cooperation with Turkey. This agreement not only helps Turkey to properly protect its exclusive economic zone in the East Mediterranean but will also help the Palestinians and Egyptians to exercise their maritime rights as they see fit in the future. As of now, they have been coerced by French and U.S. companies to yield to international consortia. The name of the Palestinian people is not even being mentioned here, the Israeli occupiers having usurped their rights.
France's efforts to exacerbate the conflict in Libya make the process of national reconciliation impossible. They have immense interest in exploring gas and oil in the East Mediterranean, unlike Russia. Meanwhile, the Syrian Baath regime, the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia have free reign to call anyone professing some rival version of political Islam a terrorist, because they are scared to death that political Islam might force its way into democratic elections.
Russia has nothing to fear of the democratic aspirations of the Middle Eastern people.
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