Last Tuesday, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said bluntly that Ankara would go with its plan B if Washington fails to deliver on its promises. American shuttle diplomacy succeeded in halting Turkey's third massive cross-border operation east of the Euphrates River to clear the northern stretch of Syria from PKK-linked People's Protection Units (YPG) terrorist elements and establish a safe zone to accommodate millions of Syrian refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs).
Both parties had reportedly agreed on a framework in the safe zone negotiations and a calendar with definite deadlines was setup. Still, the nitty-gritty of the deal, its boundaries, size and distribution of roles remain blurred. The subtlest aspect of the whole agreement is the uncertainty of Ankara's ally in Washington.
Ankara hasn't forgotten the Trump administration pledges that include the disarmament of the YPG, dismantling military fortifications on the border with Turkey, removal of YPG elements from Arab-dominated areas and the empowerment of local Arab councils in cities retaken from Daesh, such as Raqqa and Deir el-Zour. None of those promises were delivered.
This explains Akar's remarks that Turkey is out of patience and if the United Stated doesn't comply with its recent commitments, the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) has plan B and C and they will be activated.
Options on the table
Turkey is not a rogue state and won't be violating international law. It has been calling on every body to get involved and help it find a solution to the influx of Syrian refugees fleeing the ongoing carnage in war-torn Syria.
It has been calling for the so-called international community to take its concerns seriously. Turkey doesn't accept an autonomous entity to be established on its southern borders. If this happens, this terror enclave will be used as a launching pad for terrorist attacks against Turkey and might lead to a serious threat to Turkey's territorial integrity.
The international communities' narrative is vague or doesn't hold water, to say the least. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's recent threat to open the borders to Syrian refugees is the last ditch attempt to awaken Europe.
Since March 2016, Turkey has entirely fulfilled its commitment to the EU-Turkey refugee deal. Whereas, the EU adopted its typical policy of brushing the crisis far away from its gaze and pretending that it didn't exist. Financially, the EU didn't keep its promises and politically they've been either complicit or passive.
Europe's bizarre refugee policy
For decades, the EU adopted a bizarre policy towards refugees. Europe relocated its borders beyond seas and oceans by outsourcing other countries police to work as their immigration officers and prevent a refugee influx and human smuggling and trafficking. A classic example was Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's Libya.
With Turkey the consequences are different. Turkey wants the EU to share the burden and bear its responsibilities because it's the EU that will be flooded with refugees if the Syrian crisis continues, not the U.S.
Turkey wants the EU to back its efforts to establish a safe zone to accommodate millions of Syrian refugees and prevent a new inflow of internally displaced Syrians from Idlib and elsewhere in northern Syria.
There is a radically rising tone of resentment in all of Europe from refugees invading the West. There are calls to close borders and follow Trump and Netanyahu's style of building segregation walls. Interestingly, EU member states such as Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria and Denmark did not accept any refugees at all.
But this needs to be put into clearer perspective: With all its refugees, the EU only hosts 0.2% of its entire population. When compared to Turkey, nearly 6% of its population is refugees, while Lebanon's refugee share is more than 20% of its population and more than 30% of Jordan's population is refugees.
The question remains why do people become refugees? And does the West have a hand in this crisis? Does the West have to bear the responsibility?
Life cycle of a refugee
We used to think that the West aims to promote and preach democratic values and practices to third world countries. But modern history indicates that the true Machiavellian pragmatic philosophy in the West puts stability over democracy. The problem is that the alleged stability always comes with dictatorship and totalitarian regimes.
The refugee process starts when a nation decides to breathe democracy. Dictators can't coexist with democracy; they immediately manhandle people's spirit of freedom. Then killing and the spilling of blood crown the long-standing series of torture and oppression that this nation has endured for ages. The West calls for restraint and respect for human rights but still sell arms to those regimes and turns a deaf ear to the cries of the oppressed.
People have two options: Either they die in silence or they seek refuge. If they decide to choose the second route, they will be criminalized, discriminated against and end up alienated and labeled as a burden on the economy of their host country. The only way to delete the word refugee from dictionaries is by halting all kinds of support to autocratic regimes and placing morality over interests.
* Palestinian-Turkish academic and journalist; visiting researcher at Leicester University (U.K.) holding a Ph.D. from Istanbul Technical University in political campaigning
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