Erdoğan’s Try and Woo Assad May Go Horribly Improper

At first look, there may be little that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, an Islamist and nationalist, has in widespread with Dogu Perincek, a maverick socialist, Eurasianist, and militant secularist and Kemalist.

But it’s Perincek, a person with a world of contacts in Russia, China, Iran, and Syria whose conspiratorial worldview identifies the US because the core of all evil, that Erdoğan at occasions turns to assist resolve delicate geopolitical points.

Seven years in the past, Perincek mediated a reconciliation between Russia and Turkey after relations soured following the Turkish air pressure’s downing of a Russian fighter.

A Peace Cope with Syria

Now, Perincek is headed for Damascus to engineer a Russian-backed rapprochement with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose overthrow Erdoğan had inspired for the previous 11 years ever for the reason that eruption of mass Arab Spring-era anti-government demonstrations that morphed right into a bloody civil conflict.

Chances are high that Perincek’s effort shall be extra profitable than when he final tried in 2016 to patch up variations between Erdoğan and Assad however in the end stumbled over the Turkish chief’s refusal to drop his insistence that the Syrian president should go.

Erdoğan has advised as a lot in latest days, insisting that Turkey wanted to keep up a dialogue with the federal government of Assad. He has stated: “We don’t have such a problem whether or not to defeat Assad or not… You need to settle for that you just can not reduce the political dialogue and diplomacy between the states. There ought to all the time be such dialogues.” He went on to say that “we don’t eye Syrian territory… The integrity of their territory is vital to us. The regime should concentrate on this.”

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Erdoğan’s willingness to bury the conflict hatchet follows his failure to garner Russian and Iranian acquiescence in a renewed Turkish army operation in northern Syria. The operation was supposed to make sure that US-backed Syrian Kurds, whom Turkey views as terrorists, don’t create a self-ruling Kurdish area on Turkey’s border just like the Kurdish autonomous area in northern Iraq.

Turkey hoped the operation would permit it to create a 30-kilometer buffer zone managed by its forces and its Syrian proxies on the Syrian aspect of the 2 nations’ border. Russia and Iran’s refusal to again the scheme, which might have undermined the authority of their ally, Assad, has pressured Turkey to restrict its operation to shelling Kurdish and Syrian army positions.

Shifting Alliances

The US’ seeming unwillingness to supply the Kurds something greater than verbal help, and solely that sparsely, has pushed the Kurds nearer to Damascus and, by extension, Russia and Iran as Syria quietly expands its army presence within the area. The US has lengthy relied on the Kurds to counter the Islamic State in northern Syria.

The rejiggering of relationships and alliances in Syria is happening on each the diplomatic and army battlefield. The Turkish assaults and responses by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) with the Kurdish Folks’s Safety Models (YPG) at its core seem like as a lot a army as a political drawing of battlelines in anticipation of adjusting Turkish and Kurdish relations with the Assad authorities.

By concentrating on Syrian army forces, Turkey is signaling that it’s going to not stand idly by if Syria helps the Kurds or gives them cowl, whereas unprecedented Kurdish concentrating on of Turkish forces means that the Kurds have adopted new guidelines of engagement. Turkey is additional messaging that it retains the correct to focus on Kurdish forces at will, very like it does in northern Iraq.

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Each Erdoğan and the Kurds are inserting dangerous bets.

The Kurds hope in opposition to all odds that Assad will repay the favor of permitting the president to advance his purpose of gaining management of components of Syria held by insurgent forces and forcing a withdrawal of US forces from the world by granting the Kurds a measure of autonomy.

With elections in Turkey looming within the subsequent 12 months, Erdoğan hopes that Assad will assist him cater to nationalist anti-Kurdish and anti-migrant sentiment by taking management of Kurdish areas.

Turkey desires to begin repatriating a few of the 4 million predominantly Syrian refugees it hosts. In early August, Turkey’s inside ministry introduced that it had accomplished the development of greater than 60,000 houses for returning refugees to northeastern Syria.

Concern a few potential cope with Assad and a name by Turkish Overseas Minister Mevlut Cavusloglu for reconciliation between opposition teams and Damascus sparked anti-Turkish protests in Turkish-controlled areas of northern Syria in addition to rebel-held Idlib.

Turkey additionally expects Assad, who’s eager to regain not solely territorial management but additionally preserve centralized energy, to in the end crack down on armed Kurdish teams and efforts to maintain autonomously ruled Kurdish areas.

Consequently, Perincek, alongside Turkish-Syrian intelligence contacts, has his work reduce out for him. The hole between Turkish and Syrian aspirations is vast. Assad desires a whole withdrawal of Turkish forces and the return of Syrian management of Kurdish and rebel-held areas. He’s unlikely prepared or capable of present the form of safety ensures that Turkey would demand. Each the Kurds and Erdoğan are caught in Catch-22s of their very own that don’t bode effectively for both.

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The Kurds could also be left with no choices if a Turkish-Syrian rapprochement succeeds or face a Turkish onslaught if it fails. Equally, reconciliation on phrases acceptable to Erdoğan might quantity to pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Whether or not he agrees with Assad or violence in northern Syria escalates, Erdoğan dangers sparking a brand new wave of refugees making its technique to Turkey at a time that he can economically and politically least afford one other refugee disaster.

Within the phrases of analyst Kamal Alam, Erdoğan’s drawback is that the Turkish president “is operating out of time earlier than the subsequent election to unravel the Gordian knot that’s Syria. For his half, Assad can wait this out – as a result of after Turkey as soon as once more fails to bomb its method out of the northeastern drawback, Erdoğan will want Assad way over the reverse.”

The views expressed on this article are the creator’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Truthful Observer’s editorial coverage.