At the time we were going to the referendum on April 6, 2017, we did a broadcast with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the Mabeyn Palace in Istanbul.
We also received news of another chemical attack in Syria at about the same time. More than 100 people had died from intoxication.
Also around those days, U.S. President Donald Trump was saying, “We are going to punish [Bashar] Assad.”
I asked Erdoğan: “What do you think of Trump’s statement? Will there be a military intervention in Syria?”
The president answered, “If there really is any action, as Turkey, we are ready to do what is required of us, as long as it is more than just talk.”
On the night of the evening we finished the program, the U.S. really did take action; one of the Assad regime’s air bases were hit with missiles launched from the Mediterranean.
But that’s all.
The visual illumination that resulted from the Tomahawk missiles being launched from a warship was so limited that it was not worth scaring the frog.
Looking back a year later and evaluating those days, we came up with the result that those missiles created neither the impact to affect Assad’s power, not to eliminate the chemical attack threat.
Four years ago, when former U.S. President Barack Obama had left the matter to the talk table of diplomacy, the Damascus regime’s chemical terrorism threat had continued to play its role then too.
Trump: Get ready Russia, we are coming
Trump, who canceled his South America visit the other day to better follow the process in Syria, gave another message on Twitter that pushed his number of followers above 50 million.
The message was to Russia:
“Russia vows to shoot down any and all missiles fired at Syria. Get ready Russia, because they will be coming, nice and new and ‘smart!’ You shouldn’t be partners with a Gas Killing Animal who kills his people and enjoys it!”
I will say that especially the second part of that tweet was very welcomed in our region.
It seems that those missiles will soon start to fall into Syrian territory.
However, this time, it will be right for us to focus our attention not on the sparkling show of those missiles, but on the result.
We need to ask questions like the following:
- When Trump says, “Get ready Russia, we are coming,” is he going to make do with a display of power alone like last year?
- Or, is he intending on a result-focused operation this time?
- Are those missiles going to tie Assad’s hands and end his capacity to carry out another chemical attack?
- Or is everything going to continue from where it left off?
- Is the statement, “We are going to punish Assad,” going to consist of a warning only for the Damascus murderer?
- Or is Trump going to be able to send one of the missiles to crush Assad?
As you can see, questions and doubts follow one after the other.
Because there is no indication whatsoever that this latest operation planning overlaps with the intention to go back to pre-2013 with a new policy change in Washington.
Trump, who was saying only last week that we will pull out of Syria, let others deal with it, suddenly have changed his mind?
I can say that I listed the above questions after a little sniffing around in Ankara.
Ankara is standing in a more cautious position compared to last year.
There is no doubt that Ankara is going to be pleased about the U.S. striking the Assad regime in Syria.
But this time, the government may “keep its joy to itself” and appear before us with a more deliberate discourse.
Also, you cannot trust the U.S., whose discourse and actions on Syria are generally conflicting.
It could deceive everyone like it has before.