The fear that draws Damascus and Ankara closer - AKIF EMRE

The fear that draws Damascus and Ankara closer

There are recent statements indicating that Turkey and the Syrian Baath regime are changing their policies in order to restore their ties. The Syrian civil war is now in a deadlock in which neither side is able to achieve complete victory. Besides, in an environment in which foreign interventions directly gain military dimension, the Syrian civil war is almost no longer a proxy war. The region is under serious risk as regional and non-regional powers intervene by camouflaging their moves with international law. There is no longer any talk about a Syria under any authority. Instead they are talking about whether Syria will remain a livable country even if it is in one piece. This is a situation in which everyone has lost the civil war. It is now too late to talk about the point we are at because of the policies applied or “I told you so” comments being made. Yet, the articles written and the accusations made are still in the archives.

It is not possible for Turkey not to want the region to achieve peace after the political phase the country is going through, the international balances and the economic conditions. This is not Turkey's selfish desire merely for its international interests, but it is fundamentally important for the region, especially for the displaced Syrians.

Many generalizations have been made on issues like “Where did Turkey go wrong?” “Where did the Syrian opposition stumble?” “Why did the regional countries take sides in the civil war?” “Why did Iran insistently side with the Syrian regime?” “What did Saudi Arabia expect in return for its support from the Syrian opposition after the West stopped supporting the opposition?” After all this, the only thing that matters is that a country has come to ruins, hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and millions have been forced to migrate. Besides, this is no longer a situation that affects Syrian people alone. The situation has turned into a human crisis. Regional countries, especially Turkey, are affected by the military, political, social and human dimensions of this civil war. Moreover, if things continue as is, foreign powers will force new borders to be drawn on the map of the Middle East. This will then give rise to new conflicts in the region.

We face an outcome in which the promise of freedom by global powers, the massacres committed by tyrants fearing the loss of their powers, those who are provoked to take up arms for the so called freedom of others, and those who join the war as a result of their regional plans, have stumbled. The sides now face a situation that has evolved into something unacceptable. It seems that although they had not physically entered the arena and instead were managing the proxy war from their seats, Russia and the US's last moves will determine the outcome.

It seems, from this angle, that the US and Russia's strategic goals in the civil war are evolving into a dimension undesirable to both Turkey and the Baath regime. Russia which ostensibly supports Assad and the US, which supposedly supports the opposition against them, are uniting in a project which both Damascus and Ankara do not want to see.

Therefore, if we were to go back to the start, it is evident that Assad wants nothing more than to normalize relations with Ankara, thus he has started to unofficially convene with Turkey.

Furthermore, although the US and Russia seem to be enemies on the ground, they are trying to found a de facto political structure in the north of Syria.

The Assad regime sees the possibility of the PYD, a Marxist secular organization backed by the US, becoming an independent organization as a threat. Daesh, the US justification for supporting the PYD, has become an actor in paving the way for a Kurdish settlement by claiming that they are trying to support the Baath regime and defend the status quo.

It is now clear that due to the Islamophobic fear strategy triggered by Daesh and the Baath regime's secular roots, the West deems the latter worthy of preference. It seems that those who did not give their full support to opposition forces are ready to consent to a Baathist secularism because of Daesh.

However, the other side of the picture, parallel to this reality, shows a totally opposite image.

There are serious indications suggesting that even if Assad remains in power, Syria will not maintain its integrity. It is clear that one of these will be the political structure that is trying to be developed in northern Syria. Besides, both Russia and the US seem to be united on this matter. It is understood that the US, which is currently cooperating with the PYD on the ground, is trying to activate a possible Kurdish entity in the region. This means that there will be a physical disintegration in Syria.

After everything that has happened, this fear must be the reason for the Baath regime to consider reviewing its relationship with Turkey.

A while ago we heard news on Turkey secretly convening with Syria in Algeria. Before that we heard that the Assad administration sent a renowned figure to Ankara to liaise on the developments in the north. We can assume that possible talks are continuing on the matter.

In conclusion, we could probably say that the reason forcing Syria to cooperate with Turkey and the reason forcing Turkey to change its policies is a common separatist threat.

If only basic values and prudential politics had kicked in before so much blood was shed and such pain was experienced.

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