August 19, 2019
In early August, American and Turkish military delegations met in Ankara to discuss plans to coordinate the establishment of a safe zone in northern Syria. A joint statement issued at the end of the talks said they agreed on the rapid implementation of initial measures to address Turkey’s security concerns; to stand-up a joint operations center in Turkey as soon as possible in order to coordinate and manage the establishment of the safe zone together; and, that the safe zone shall become a peace corridor, and every effort shall be made so that displaced Syrians can return to their country. Okumaya devam et →
January 25, 2019
After his remarks in Israel John Bolton’s visit to Turkey was doomed to failure. So, it was left to Senator Lindsey Graham to repair or at least control the damage. In Ankara, he publicly said everything possible to cajole Turkey’s political leadership into cooperation with Washington in Syria and beyond. He said that withdrawing and leaving the Kurdish fighters with weapons supplied by the United States would be insane. He mentioned YPG’s affiliation with the PKK. He referred to the special relationship between presidents Trump and Erdogan. The timing of his visit was well-chosen on the eve of US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dunford’s talks in the Turkish capital.
During his remarks to the press following his talks in Ankara Senator Graham spoke alternately of a safe zone and a buffer zone in Syria. At least this was how Turkish newspapers translated his remarks. But the two do not exactly overlap. Buffer zone is a neutral area separating conflicting forces. Safe zone is an area where people who are not involved in the fighting may find a degree of refuge during armed conflict. Safe zones have sometimes been accompanied also no-fly zones. Okumaya devam et →
January 8, 2019
President Trump’s surprise announcement of the withdrawal of US troops from Syria has ended up, unsurprisingly, in another U-turn.
On Sunday his national security advisor John Bolton said, “We don’t think the Turks ought to undertake military action that’s not fully coordinated with and agreed to by the United States at a minimum so they don’t endanger our troops, but also so that they meet the President’s requirement that the Syrian opposition forces that have fought with us are not endangered.”
And Mr. Trump told reporters, “You have to remember, Iran hates ISIS more than we do, if that’s possible. Russia hates ISIS more than we do. Turkey hates ISIS, maybe not as much as we do. But these are countries that hate ISIS. And they can do a little of the fighting in their neighborhood also, because we’re fighting them in their neighborhood. But with that being said, we’re pulling out of Syria, but we’re doing it and we won’t be finally pulled out until ISIS is gone…”
Firstly, these remarks show that Ankara’s expression of pleasure over the announced pullout was hasty at best. The Trump White House is unpredictable and will remain so. Okumaya devam et →
February 5, 2018
Washington designated Hamas as a foreign terrorist organization in 1997. Last week the Department of State also designated its leader Ismail Haniyeh as a terrorist. Some in the Arab world were no doubt delighted whereas Turkish Foreign Minister Çavuşoğlu strongly criticized the decision because the government regards Ismail Haniyeh a freedom fighter. The truth is such disagreements between nations are not uncommon. It all depends on countries’ perception of national interest as well as ideology. Okumaya devam et →