Etiket arşivi: Syria conflict

Time to Boost Syria’s Political Transition

May 9, 2016

“Cessation of Hostilities in Syria”, worked out between Russia and the US and approved by the UNSC through Resolution 2268, entered into force on February 27, 2016. For two months, despite violations, it seemed to hold inspiring cautious optimism. However, two major challenges remained.

The first was the launching of not just talks but “meaningful talks” between the regime and the opposition. On March 21, Reuters reported that U.N. envoy Staffan de Mistura described Syria’s political transition as “the mother of all issues” in response to regime’s representative Bashar Ja’afari who said that Assad’s future had “nothing to do” with the negotiations.

The second was how to deal with terrorist organizations not only as a short-term battlefield issue but also a long-term problem for Syria and beyond. Under the terms of the “Cessation of Hostilities in Syria”, Russia and the US were expected to delineate, with other members of the ISSG’s Ceasefire Task Force, the territory held by “Daesh, Jabhat al-Nusra” and other terrorist organizations designated by the UN Security Council” which were excluded from the cessation of hostilities. It was obvious that in view of conflicting interests this would be easier said than done. Okumaya devam et

OIC’s Istanbul Summit

 

April 18, 2016

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the second largest inter-governmental organization after the UN with 57 Member States, held its 13th Summit Conference in Istanbul on April 14-15, 2016.

Since its establishment in 1969, the OIC has remained under Saudi patronage. Islam’s holiest shrines are there; the King carries the title “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques”; the country’s oil wealth has given Riyadh, at least until now, considerable international leverage and ability to secure allegiances; and, the OIC Secretariat is located in Jeddah. Sponsoring the OIC has provided Riyadh with international clout but this has deprived the Organization of the opportunity to gain solid international status. Arab countries have been OIC’s strongest bloc. Turkey, Egypt, Iran and Pakistan are also a category of influential members because they are regional powers and closer to all the trouble. Others which can make a difference are either far away like Malaysia or Indonesia or have an understandably more limited interest in OIC’s agenda. Okumaya devam et

Turkey’s Descent

March 16, 2016

Terrorist attacks continue to claim rising numbers of innocent lives. The word “gridlock” can hardly describe the political atmosphere. The country is polarized like it has never been. Foreign and security policies are in shambles. Tourism, a major source of income and an irreplaceable avenue for interaction with the outside world is on the rocks. Lawlessness is widespread. People are increasingly agitated. There is little respect for rules, even speed limits. A traffic accident can be described by the media as a “vehicle getting out of control” as if the vehicle has an independent mind of its own. Similarly, most of our problems are attributed to foreign hands, dark forces which are determined to stop Turkey’s rise as a regional and global power. Western political support during the early years of the Justice and Development Party (JDP) rule, the launching of accession talks with the EU in October 2005, President Obama’s remarkable visit to Ankara in April 2009, cozy relations with Russia until the downing of the Su-24 warplane and “strategic cooperation” with President Assad’s Syria are conveniently forgotten. In brief, there can never be any wrongdoing on our part. Okumaya devam et

Turkey, European Union and the Refugees

March 8, 2016

The 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees defines the refugee as someone who is unable or unwilling to return to his/her country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion. The Convention stipulates that its provisions are to be applied without discrimination as to race, religion or country of origin. Developments in international human rights law have reinforced the principle that the Convention be applied without discrimination. The Convention also lays down basic minimum standards for the treatment of refugees, “without prejudice to States granting more favorable treatment”. Such rights include access to the courts, to primary education, to work.

Syrian conflict has created huge refugee problems for neighboring Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. This is what the European Commission says in its “ECHOFACT SHEET” on the refugee situation in Turkey:
• “The overwhelming influx of refugees into Turkey has reached over 3.1 million registered, making Turkey the largest host of refugees in the world.
• “In 2016 some 126 166 people have arrived through Turkey to Greece by sea. 91% come from the world’s top 10 refugee-producing countries.
• “About 90% of Syrian refugees in Turkey remain outside of camp settings with limited access to basic services.
• “UNHCR estimates that more than half of the Syrian refugees are children, with 400 000 children remaining out of school…” (*) Okumaya devam et

Combatting ISIL Remains a Formidable Task

Co-authored with Yusuf Buluc (*)

February 10, 2016
On February 4, 2016 Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, an adviser to the Saudi Defense Minister and also spokesman for the Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen reportedly stated, during an interview, that the Kingdom was ready to participate in any ground operations that the anti-ISIL coalition may agree to carry out in Syria. He also said that to win against Islamic State, the coalition needed to combine aerial operations with ground operations.

In response to questions about this statement, US Defense Secretary Carter said that increased activity by other countries would make it easier for the United States to accelerate its fight against Islamic State militants. “That kind of news is very welcome,” he told reporters and added that he looked forward to discussing the offer of ground troops with the Saudi Defense Minister. Okumaya devam et

Geneva III: A Rocky Start

February 3, 2016

The road map for Syrian political transition which the UN Security Council (UNSC) approved through Resolution 2254 envisaged the Syrian government and the opposition engaging in formal negotiations in early January 2016. It also envisaged a nationwide ceasefire, establishing of non-sectarian governance, drafting of a new constitution, free and fair elections within eighteen months. Okumaya devam et

Syria Talks Approaching

January 14, 2016

On December 18, 2015 the UN Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 2254 approving the road map which had emerged from International Syria Support Group’s (ISSG) two Vienna meetings. A week later, Staffan de Mistura, UN’S Special Envoy for Syria, set the target date of January 25 to start talks in Geneva. And, at the very end of the year, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi went to Ramadi to celebrate its liberation from ISIL.

Two weeks later, the regional mood is still not one of optimism. Okumaya devam et