As soon as Turkey sensed the first signals of the tension in Syria, it warned the Damascus regime to end the oppression on the opposition and to allow free elections. However, Bashar Assad ignored Turkey's suggestions and exacerbated its oppressive policies even more. And so the incidents that turned the whole country into a fireplace were ignited.A civil war broke out in Syria as the opposition became organized and took action against Assad's massacres and oppression that reached an unbearable extent.
Turkey's attitude at that point was quite clear. Ankara did not remain silent to Assad's anti-democratic deeds despite the historical relations between the two countries. It clearly supported the pluralist and democratic Syrian opposition. Turkey also called on the entire world including the EU and U.S. to support the opposition in the face of Assad's massacres.
However, President Barack Obama, the U.S. government and EU countries remained deaf and dumb in the presence of this great humanitarian tragedy. They swept 50,000 authenticated photos under the rug. Verified by international authorities, those photos showed that the Assad regime was carrying out genocide. They did not take any action even when Assad violated international law and murdered his own people with chemical weapons. At the very beginning, Ankara had warned that if the Assad regime, which murdered about 200,000 civilians, was not stopped, the civil war in the country would grow and that would empower radical groups in the Middle East. This warning was, however, ignored.
And finally the disaster scenario Turkey presumed and struggled to warn the world against came true. The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) settled in the regions where Assad cleared off the opponents. Upon that, ISIS turned the region into an inferno. Assad provided ISIS with de-facto support since it fights against and undermines Assad's opponents, especially the Free Syrian Army. He did not attack a single ISIS position while he was heavily bombarding civilians in the cities. What is more, he enjoyed two things with only one move. He used the ISIS massacres that he supported and empowered to give a message to the West, which suggests that such radical groups would rule over Syria if Assad left his seat.
Eventually, the U.S. and the West, who have not so far attempted the slightest humanitarian effort on the matter of 2 million Syrian refugees and have left Turkey alone in the face of the Syrian civil war for four years, woke up. They are now repeating the arguments Ankara put forward years ago with implicit self-criticism. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said peace could not be achieved in the region without overthrowing the Assad regime. Also, Obama said he agrees with the remarks of the U.S. National Intelligence Director James Clapper, who said the U.S. underestimated the incidents in Syria. Obama said they could not provide stability in Syria under the rule of Assad, who has committed horrible mass murders, and that it is not possible for Assad to govern all the processes to keep Syria united.
Good Morning Mr. Obama. Instead of listening to the non-interventionists around you, you could have realized your Democratic identity and adopted an attitude against Assad, who arrogantly violated international law. If only you could have considered the universal values that are the common traits of humanity instead of the arguments that prefer secular dictators over democratic Muslim governments in the Middle East. If only you had lent an ear to the calls for democracy and human rights made by Ankara, your oldest ally in the region.
The same regrets also go for the U.N. and the countries that built the EU, the greatest peace and civil society project in history.The cost of those regrets is extremely heavy. Assad has killed 200,000 civilians, thousands of civilians have been killed by ISIS and thousands more have had to take refuge in other countries. We should also add the raped women and the soldiers whose blood would be shed in a possible war to the picture.
The blood of all these innocent people is on the hands of not only Assad and ISIS, but also Washington, EU countries and the U.N. Each moment that passes wasting time to throw the Damascus regime makes the blood stains on their hands more permanent. With this record, it is not easy for you to restore your image in the collective memory of the many Middle Eastern peoples. But if you have just woken up, then it is time for you to get up and stand against it.
Meanwhile, your plausibility is highly suspected since you cooperate with Assad's counterparts in the region while self-criticizing the mistake you made by remaining silent against Assad. Yes, I mean Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who overthrew the democratically elected government with a military coup and still finds himself a seat at your dinner tables. This is the dictator with whom Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan rejected sitting at the same table. As a democrat from Turkey, I am very surprised how you can have the appetite to eat at the same table with this dictator, who encouraged radicals in the region such as Assad to engage in terrorist activities with the coup regime in his country.