Both NATO and France deserve better

Published 04.12.2019 19:45
Updated 20.12.2019 02:09

London's NATO summit was marked by intransigence between Turkey and France over Syria. Ankara's position has been clear in this dispute, in which U.S. President Donald Trump has expressed support for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

Turkey has one of the largest armies in NATO and is located on the vanguard of the alliance's critical southern border. The country has absorbed most of the fallout of various developments in the Middle East, which has been marred by civil war and political strife, especially in Syria and Iraq, thereby acting as a bulwark shouldering the burden for Europe. Currently, there are 4 million refugees in Turkey and the country has made no concessions to its humanitarian open-door policy since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war.

It is not hard to predict what the possible consequences would have been for Europe if Turkey had adopted an open-door policy on its western border as well, instead of shouldering this heavy economic and social burden. This is quite a significant point that European countries ought to reflect upon.

Despite the price it has paid on behalf of the EU, NATO and the entire world, Turkey has still received nothing in the way of support. Moreover, efforts have even been made to thwart many of Ankara's attempts to find lasting solutions.

France's opposition to Turkey's attempts to create a safe zone free of terrorist groups in northern Syria for the return of refugees is just the latest example of this. French President Emmanuel Macron claims that Turkey's coordinated operations with the U.S., a NATO member, in northern Syria are contrary to the union's basic principles.

For him, it is the Kurdish people who are being targeted in operations that are actually aimed at fighting against the People's Protection Units (YPG), the Syrian branch of the PKK, which is recognized as a terrorist organization in the U.S. and many European countries.

President Macron's accusation against Turkey, the country which has the largest Kurdish population in the region, and the only country in which they live with full equal citizenship, is simply a ludicrous falsehood. I wonder if Macron has ever heard of the hundreds of thousands of Kurds who have sought refuge in Turkey from the areas in Syria seized by the YPG, which he has declared the representative of the Kurds in the region. The answer would be definitely not!

It is all one to Turkey, whether he is aware of this or not. After all, Ankara is determined to take measures to secure its 911-kilometer border with Syria and protect its own sovereignty against terror and separatist campaigns.

However, it does not seem possible to say the same for France and NATO. Indeed, Macron's perspective, which equates the interest of France with that of a terrorist organization on the demise, is little but pathetic in every respect. Macron thinks that he can shore up support for his views on the matter, yet is supported by no serious NATO player, even despite his far-fetched gestures and would-be-Napoleonic stance. By doing so, he can contribute neither to France, nor to what he supposes is a "brain dead" NATO.

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