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November 22, 2019
Politics

Time to be realistic in Syria policy by Yusuf Kanli

Right from the beginning, many people warned that Syria was no Iraq, Yemen or Libya. After 10 years of war of attrition that exhausted the resources of the Arab country, the Baathist regime is consolidating itself once again. Who the winner of this war is something that can be discussed without a result for hours. But the loser is clear: The people of Syria. Turkey, on the other hand, has suffered by hosting over 3.6 million refugees and shouldering a big financial burden, by doing so as well as spending on its security.

It is an established perception that Turkey’s main problem is not the deficiency of the government, but rather the deficiency of the opposition parties. Indeed, it is.

Turkey is a very big country situated in a very delicate geography. Is it a European, Asian, Middle Eastern, eastern or Western country?

Can there be such an odd question? It is all of them, and not at the same time. The “bridge” character of Turkey is something peculiar, but, at the same time, rather problematic. Some people, like this writer, don’t accept Turkey as a bridge, as a bridge, at the same time, implies something to be walked over it. Yet, nowadays it appears that many of Turkey’s allies, particularly the Americans, are very much willing to walk over this country. What a pity? It is rather difficult to understand how a country might be an ally or even a strategic partner of a country yet at the same time decide to impose some degree of meaningful or non-meaningful sanctions on defense procurements or the personal wealth of the leaders of that country. Can there be such an allied relationship? But hold on, it gets even worse. The very same ally of Turkey for years has been financing, supplying arms and ammunition and even abetting some people that itself recognizes as terrorists.

Can we say these and similar problems of Turkey emanated from the opposition and not because of the failures of the government, as well as the foreign and allied relations of Turkey?

Obviously, we have some degree of failure in governance. At least we must accept that there is some serious confusion. The rather atypical president of the United States might be one reason of this failure or “uncontrolled” situation.

When it comes to Turkey, it was the opposition leaders, for example, who asked so many months ago that Turkey should reconsider its Syria policy and try to make up with the Bashar al-Assad regime. Today, it has become all the more important to reconsider our emotional and rather religious obsessions, forget about why and how we landed on this awkward situation and act with the requirement of the conditions. The terrorists and the Assad regime, through Russia, have apparently made a deal. Can we fight the Russians, Syrians and terrorists and quarrel with the Americans at the very same time and make irrelevant declarations that we can deal with this all at the same time?

Let’s be realistic and act with awareness over our rights.

 

(story first appeared in the Hurriyet Daily News)

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