Erdogan aims for “zero problems”: reconciliation with Syria, not the end of the occupation

Written by – Elijah J. Magnier:

Following Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu’s announcement that “an understanding with Syria is possible”, the Syrian opposition groups proclaimed in the Turkish-occupied Idlib region that they “will not reconcile, and will not forgive Damascus.” However, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s position was categorical when he announced:  “further (positive) steps should be taken towards Damascus to spoil many (US) plans” and claimed that “the US and Coalition forces are supporting terrorism in Syria.” Could this be a prelude to a radical change in the dynamic in the Levant between Turkey and Syria?

The overt positions of senior Turkish officials are connected to the tripartite meeting in Tehran between the Presidents of Iran, Ibrahim Raisi, Russia, Vladimir Putin, and Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, followed by a bilateral meeting between Putin and Erdogan in Sochi weeks later. The dialogue between these heads of state laid the ground for a change in the Turkish position concerning Syria and the world dynamic and development, challenging the US world hegemony.

Several vital issues between Ankara and Moscow begin with the presence of the two countries in Libya, Azerbaijan, Ukraine and Syria, and above all, the fact that Turkey is the second largest military force in NATO, NATO that “unwittingly” declared war on Russia. Economic files bring the two countries together around one table, like the construction of a $20 billion Russian nuclear plant in Turkey and the TurkStream gas line extending from Russia to Turkey, which feeds countries from the European Union and nourishes the exchange of trade and tourism between the two countries. 

The sudden shift in Ankara’s foreign policy cannot be separated from the Turkish elections in mid-June next year and the financial and economic burden that the Ankara government is under due to the pressure of inflation, which has reached 79.8 per cent. The deterioration of the local currency and the restlessness of the people who see their savings gradually disappearing due to the impact of the internal crisis impose further pressures on the Turkish President. Erdogan is looking for a fundamental change of policy that takes him away from the western alliance, which doesn’t offer a strategic and advantageous relationship. Turkey is getting closer to the Middle Eastern and Asian partners who could offer the needed support for the country with its forthcoming elections.

However, Erdogan’s accusation of the “US and the international coalition’s support for terrorism” – as he puts it –must not be neglected. Turkey is holding onto fifty US nuclear bombs directed at Moscow and other Russian cities at its Incirlik air base, the base from which the anti-Erdogan coup d’état was launched in 2016. Moreover, the US failure in its war in Ukraine against Russia, the continuous occupation of north-east Syria and Washington’s support for the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) Syrian branch are the basis of Erdogan’s “aggressive” stand. The US and Europe never took the PKK off the list of terrorist organisations, yet, they continue to support it and provide weapons to its leaders in Syria.

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Proofread by: Maurice Brasher