Normalizing relations with Israel, Syria - NEDRET ERSANEL

Normalizing relations with Israel, Syria

The groups and individuals in Türkiye, who have been opposing Türkiye’s foreign policy all along are now boasting, “We told you so,” in celebration of their non-existent foresight, underlining the government’s mistake – according to them – regarding Ankara’s normalization with Damascus and Tel Aviv. 

 The “points” listed by those, who have been cursing Israel and Syria until now, without wondering about the real reasons why Türkiye is taking an opposition stance, are all exaggerated (those regarding Israel were frequently not exaggerated). 

 Now, one side is boasting about “how they were right,” and the other side is trying to pick up the pieces, claiming, “yes, but such and such have changed.” 

 There is some truth to it. Those realities were not fixed. 

 If you are not one of those seeking to catch out the other, you must look from the “top” in order to understand a country’s foreign policy. 

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 Ask both sides the same simple question, and you will be surprised at how they look at you dumbfounded: “Is the normalization of relations with Israel and Syria in the same direction for both or in opposite directions?” 

 That’s all. Then just sit back and enjoy watching them stagger. 

 As a matter of fact, the dynamics and momentum of both normalizations are different. So are their dilemmas and the challenges concerning their management.  

Two, what will Israel think about normalization with Syria, and how will Syria view normalization with Israel? 

 Three, how will the countries backing them, the U.S., Russia, Iran, the Arab world, and the U.K., view such convergences with Türkiye? 

 Four, the countries backing them are currently dealing with crises. What effects do they have on normalization? 

 For example, Russia is the biggest supporter of the normalization between Syria and Türkiye. What is the effect of the Ukraine war on this? What is the effect of relations with Iran on this? What is the effect of relations with the U.S. and exclusively Israel on this? 

 Now take wear Israel’s shoes. Consider its relations with Türkiye based on these variables just as the country is heading to the elections. Iran has reached a certain point with the West in nuclear negotiations, your relations with Russia have soured, the U.S. is headed to elections, the developments are starting to threaten Abraham deals, especially like Russia-Türkiye-Iran-Damascus in Syria, and a certain line profile has emerged even though certain elements are forced/suspicious, and add to it completely severed ties between Russia and Greece – which is the Mediterranean – what would you think?  

Let’s take it to the ground so you can see for yourself: Israel attacked on Aug. 15-16 Iranian militias near the Russian base in the west of Syria. This was followed by a drone attack on a U.S. base in the east of Syria. Of course, it was Iran. Russia objected to the first but overlooked the second one. 

 These are all so obscure that at a time Iran provides UAVs and its training to Russia, Israel’s presence in Azerbaijan, and Armenia-Azerbaijan-Türkiye-Iran relations can be so elaborated that we will need to write more than 10 articles to explain them. 

 We see that the pursuit of normalizing relations with Syria and Israel are not only different, but the motives for both are completely opposite. 

 This is where Türkiye comes in! It is not intervening but balancing it all. Sochi’s significance is better understood now. I previously wrote that “vaster maps will open” above our media’s disrespectfully superficial journalism. 

 How is it not seen that the support we requested from Russia in order to facilitate our likely operation has normalization with Israel on the other side of the advice, “Sure, but you need to start discussing these matters with Damascus as well”? 

 Ankara speaks Turkish, but our people do not understand their own language. 

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 Those who are not pleased with Türkiye’s foreign policy need to make “rough suggestions,” because one, they don’t know, two, their solutions are shallow. Their suggestions go as far as, “Make peace with everyone.” They are not refined at all and have total solutions: Normalize relations with the U.S.! (The upcoming elections are the biggest national security problem.) 

 As for Syria, we are able to understand Israel and Türkiye’s needs. Tel Aviv must be haste. We know that new governments are awaited in order to appoint ambassadors. They no longer have much patience. Remember the news, “They will be assigned soon.” It did not happen. Remember the official visits that were also canceled. Now it is all happening instantly. 

 But Syria is different. 

 One, Türkiye’s thought to normalize relations with Damascus did not start a few days ago, a few weeks or even months ago. Türkiye avoided pursuing Damascus for years. This does not normalize relations, but it does not push it into a worse situation or point of no return. 

 President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said yesterday, “We are not concerned about whether we defeat [Bashar] Assad.” 

 Two, does Syria want Türkiye to leave the country “now”? “Yes,” right? Nice. Forget forced and official statements, are you sure about this? 

 Three, are Russia, Iran, Türkiye, and Damascus disturbed by U.S. presence in the region? Yes. In fact, this was confirmed in the latest Astana (Tehran) and Sochi summits. They accept that the U.S. is the problem and the solution is its exit. (This is the strategic essence of the entire Astana process.) 

 This is where all the drama starts for those who promote “normalization with everyone without considering the conditions.” Normalization with Damascus, and in fact Israel, traps the local opposition’s “plan to normalize relations with the U.S.”! As a matter of fact, they are doing it to themselves. 

 Four, are we able to quickly see a concrete picture of progressed normalization with Syria as we can with Israel? No. Hence, the “we told you so” group, don’t be so quick to be happy. 

 The truth is that there will be a lot more communication between Türkiye and Damascus. This is a good thing. This will "not normalize” for months. If we have to define these relations, we can refer to them as “cooperation!” 

 If you ask me, there will be a greater number of those who are disturbed by this. Is this a good thing? It sure is. 

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