Written by – Elijah J. Magnier:
In 2014, French President Francois Hollande supported the idea of his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan to establish a buffer zone between Syria and Turkey where internally displaced Syrians could be allocated. However, Washington rejected the idea though it was only postponed. Turkey has considered the north of Syria (and Iraq) as part of Turkey’s recovery rights because the area, in his view, remains part of the Ottoman Empire that Erdogan is trying to revive. Such an objective was possible after the 2011 war on Syria, opening the gate for the Turkish President to materialise his goal. Russia partially spoiled Erdogan’s dream by helping Damascus and its allies to regain most of the Syrian territory. The Turkish opportunity to annex a 30-kilometre buffer zone along the border with Syria increased when President Erdogan seized important papers that Washington and Moscow needed. Thus, the advance of the Turkish army and its proxies in the Syrian territories controlled by the Kurdish Autonomous Administration forces seems inevitable. However, such an important and multifront battle may not be completed in one stage.
Turkey finds itself in an ideal position between Russia and the US, who want to please President Erdogan after the outbreak of war between the two superpowers on Ukrainian soil. The US wants to expand the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) influence by adding Sweden and Finland to the current thirty-nation membership. The aim is to besiege Russia and maintain the US hegemony over the West in general and Europe in particular. To achieve such an objective, the US needs Ankara’s agreement, which stands against the admission of the two new nation members.
Turkey accuses Sweden of its support and harbouring of leaders from the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which Turkey (Europe and the US) considers a terrorist organisation. However, the PKK Syrian branch (YPG) protects the US occupation forces in north-eastern Syria and prevents serious negotiation with the central government in Damascus.
Consequently, raising the ceiling of the Turkish demands means sending a message to the US that Turkey is ready to negotiate while holding a card that Washington must respond to sooner or later. Indeed, there are 40 US F-16V fighter jets (the latest version of the F-16 Fighting Falcon Family), upgrade kits spare parts for the US F-16s jets (that make up the Turkish Air Force fleet), and the “Patriot” defence system- that Turkey needs. The US stopped exporting what Turkey required due to the sanctions imposed on Ankara following its procurement of the Russian S-400 air defence system. Moreover, Turkey was removed from the fifth-generation fighter aircraft F-35 Lightning II development project, which Turkey paid 1.4 billion dollars for and received only four F-35out of the 100 requested. Turkish pilots were asked to leave the US before they had finished training on the advanced combat aircraft.As for Russia, it also has strategic interests with Turkey, such as trade and tourism exchange, the TurkStream gas pipeline, Turkey’s refusal to introduce new members into NATO and its role in the Ukrainian war in an attempt to host the Russian-Ukrainian dialogue. Ankara’s control over the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits and the Turkish airspace that Russia needs
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