Will the Geneva talks yield any result? - MERVE ŞEBNEM ORUÇ

Will the Geneva talks yield any result?

Four-hundred years ago, Europe was in a bloody sectarian war among Christians. During this period known as the “30 Year Wars,” 8 million people died in Europe. Although the it was fundamentally a Protestant-Catholic conflict, the reason most countries under the Holy Roman Empire became sides and took part in this war was political. For instance, France supported the Protestant despite being Catholic. This is why the 30 Year Wars was really Europe's civil war. Hence when the war was over, the empire was divided into mini states and the center was so weakened that it could now become powerful again.

Geneva, where John Calvin settled in after having to leave France when he rejected Catholism, had also had its share of the tyranny. Back then Geneva was almost like the Rome of Protestants. Criticizing Calvin and Calvinism was a crime. Calvin was advocating that sin and sinners should not be tolerated. The society should live a very simple life. Nobody should wear colorful clothing, they should eat little, drink little, refrain from listening to music and dancing and just work. A moral society was possible only by having a tight hold on the reins and through punishment. Calvin did not need to provide any evidence against the people he accused of being sinners – the words that came out of his two lips could lead to imprisonment, torture, drowning, whipping, burning with a hot iron, nailing from the feet or hanging and beheading. Calvin's Geneva which reminds of Daesh's methods, was unable to recover from the damage of that period for years.

Today, 400 years after that bloody period, Geneva is hosting the meetings of another political war at the center of sectarian conflicts. It is probably because of the failure of the first two meetings that leaders are refraining from defining these talks as Geneva-3, however it is a reality that this attempt is the third and is no different to the other two in terms of the way it is starting.

In the period which it wasn't completely clear until the moment the talks started which parties of the intricate war in Syria would participate, the Democratic Union Party (PYD) was not invited to Geneva as a result of Turkey's pressures. In brief, the “Lausanne collapsed, Kurds are in Geneva” enthusiasm that their Syrian wing would definitely be invited of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and figures close to the organization was short lived.

The opposition which is almost certain that the demands concerning civilians would not be met, announced it would boycott the talks, yet was later convinced by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. However, they still have no hope for a good result to come from the talks.

As tables are being set in Geneva the bloodshed in Syria is continuing at the same rate. The regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad continues to advance in the northwest with great support from the Russian air forces. Civilians in Turkmen Mountain and its vicinities are trying to pass through to Turkey to save their lives. The regime's blockade in some towns like Madaya is continuing and hundreds of people are resisting death from starvation. The circle around the Jarabulus-Marea line, which Turkey suggested to purge of Daesh and establish a safe zone, is getting tighter. The PYD, which wants to take the Tishrin Dam from Daesh and advance north, is closing off Daesh's escape route from Raqqa on one hand and, on the other hand, trying to make progress in Afrin, it is pushing Daesh toward Aleppo, in other words toward opposition groups. It is doing this with Russian air support from one front and U.S. air support from the other.

While the violence in Syria continues at full throttle, the tragedy of the refugees is also ongoing. Another boat sank neat the Ayvacık district of Çanakkale province yesterday, adding 10 more people including five children, to the death toll of the tens of people who die every day trying to reach Europe on smuggler boats from the Aegean and Mediterranean. Although they do not confess their hostility toward foreigners and their fascist state of mind, Europeans who confess the situation by saying “Schengen will be cancelled if more refugees arrive,” normalize this tyranny by saying, “It is better that they die rather than come here.”

Hence, it seems as the only hopefuls of Geneva are Russia and the U.S. Since the conditions on the ground will have taken the shape they want, they set the table over it. It was resonated in the media this week that the U.S. told opposition groups, “Assad will remain in power until 2020.” Since this is something the CIA said in 2013, it is not a new development, yet it is important that a super power which says “Assad must go” on every occasion shows how quick it can lie.

Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries like Qatar are not very hopeful of the meetings either, because the U.S. has long been stabbing its allies in the back, occupying them and doing things behind their back. The media and analysts also think the meetings will be unsuccessful as the regime will continue its oppression of civilians and this will be a result that will not be accepted by opposition groups.

Russia, which has increased its military presence not in Syria alone but also in the surrounding seas, and the U.S. which is making implicit threats saying “if the political solution does not work, the military solution is on the table,” have already surrounded the “peace table” with pointed guns. In other words, we can be sure that there will be extreme pressure on opposition groups to accept without question the conditions imposed during talks by the UN, or more correctly, by the U.S. and Russia. In fact, if they do not accept the solution imposed, they may face the threat that they will go on the “terrorist lists.”

It is certain that the Geneva talks will not yield the good news expected by millions of Syrians, but the U.S. and Russia will push more than ever to achieve the result they want and force opposition to accept Assad and cease fire.


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