Erdoğan’s strategy for Syria was pertinent

Published 15.11.2014 00:14

The Situation in Syria has gone from bad to incredibly tragic. The two major powers supporting Assad, Russia and Iran, have experienced major setbacks due to the sharp decrease in oil prices. Most strikingly, the fight against ISIS in Kobani and its vicinity has helped the forces loyal to Assad to wage deadly attacks against the civilian population.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, since the very beginning, has advocated that the Assad regime should not stay in place, if any semblance of a solution is to have a chance of being implemented. He did not say it out of anger. Turkey has helped the Syrian regime to "normalise" since the assassination of Rafik Hariri in Lebanon. At a time when all international public opinion was against Assad, a diplomatic and economic opening was made to Syria by Turkey. This looked more like a life-jacket than a move dictated by conjuncture. Syria had an unexpected perspective through enhanced cooperation with Turkey and a smooth transition to a more democratic functioning.

It is unfortunately not possible to reform some regimes, and Syria proved to be one of them. Turkish diplomacy and government officials have tried hard to forge a peaceful solution when the mass protest movements started in Syria in the wake of Arab awakening. The then Foreign minister Ahmet Davutoğlu attended a marathon meeting in Damascus, which lasted six hours, where he obtained respite from government forces, to mediate between the representatives of the state and the opposition. Starting from this meeting, the Baath representatives have gone back to their conventional methods, which was basically lying to the international media and partners, in order to gain time and attack the opposition.

President Erdoğan, who served as prime minister at the time, decided that the Assad regime could not be taken as a valid interlocutor anymore and should step down, if Syria wanted to have a democratic future. The civil war started, and got worse and worse. Turkey repeatedly asked for an intervention, on the part of democratic regimes. It has duly supported the democratic opposition, opened its very long southern border to refugees (amounting 1.7 million people now), took care of the fleeing civilian people and continuously asked for action. Assad has been militarily supported by Iran and Russia, both wanted to teach a lesson to the "West," by using Assad as a proxy. The civil war could have come to an end when both France and Turkey, after the chemical weapons used by the regime, were ready to launch air raids together when U.S. President Obama retracted at the last moment, opening the way to Russian-designed Geneva conferences process. Not only did the conferences not serve a purpose but to buy time for the regime, but also the Free Syrian Army lost most of its weight, much to the advantage of radical movements like the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS).

President Erdoğan did not change his stance even when Kobani was attacked, saying that without the removal of Assad, nothing could be achieved in Syria. He has been duly criticized by the same mass media that used to criticise his every move. Now, after having bombarded Kobani for more than a month, after sending Kurdish fighters to help the resistance in Kobani (thanks to the help of Turkey), after having rejected any attack against Assad. The U.S. administration is seriously envisaging demising the dictator. Basically because without demoting him, no solution will be possible. That was exactly what President Erdoğan said more than three years ago.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Disclaimer: All rights of the published column/article are reserved by Turkuvaz Media Group. The entire column/article cannot be used without special permission even if the source is shown.
However, quoted column/article can be partly used by providing an active link to the quoted news. Please click for details..