Etiket arşivi: Syrian conflict

Front Lines of the Battle Against Covid-19

March 27, 2020

“Operation Enduring Freedom”, “Operation Resolute Support”, “Operation New Dawn”, “Operation Unified Protector”, “Operation Decisive Storm”, to name a few, were recent decades’ ambitiously titled military interventions seeking to achieve narrow ends. Although diplomacy and multilateralism were sidelined, they all claimed to have the support of the so-called “international community”. In reality, they only represented its failure. Okumaya devam et

Idlib Ceasefire: Only a Respite

March 8, 2020

On March 6, Presidents of Russia and Turkey met in Moscow. In remarks to the press before their meeting, President Putin said the situation in Idlib has deteriorated so much that the two leaders needed to have a direct and personal discussion. He added, “As you requested, we are ready to begin our talks one-on-one, and then our colleagues, who are with us in this room, will join us, if necessary.”

Thus, after the talks in restricted format, consultations continued with the participation of the delegations of the two countries. One may conclude, therefore, that the Syrian conflict with its Idlib dimension and the future of Russian-Turkish relations were taken up between the two leaders at full length. Okumaya devam et

An Ultimatum That Boomeranged

(Co-authored with Yusuf Buluç)[i]

The people of Turkey held their breath on the eve of the deadline set in the ultimatum  President Erdoğan served on the Syrian regime promising severe military punishment if  its forces  were not to withdraw to lines drawn in the so-called “Sochi agreement” between Russia and Turkey.  Evidently, there was no way that the regime, still recognized by the UN as the legitimate government of Syria, could heed this warning as it would amount to yielding its hard-won sovereign territory to Turkey’s control. More so, such withdrawal would have been hailed by some jihadist armed groups, listed by the UN as terrorist organizations,  which have taken most of the civilian inhabitants of the Idlib province as hostage in their quest to winning a rump of Syria to be dismembered. The regime, its air force largely under Russian command and control, reacted to the Turkish ultimatum not by resorting to terse and rejectionist rhetoric but unleashing a bombing campaign resulting in massive loss of life not recorded outside Turkish territory since the Korean war. Okumaya devam et

Turkey’s Narrowing Horizons

February 27, 2020

In the fall of 1966, I took a series of exams to join the Turkish Foreign Ministry. Among other things, we were asked to comment on a widely used metaphor, “Turkey is a bridge between East and West”. I wrote that throughout history Anatolia has been a meeting point of cultures and Turkey’s future lies in creating a successful synthesis. In my later years in diplomatic service, I continuously objected to the use of this metaphor arguing that a bridge belongs to neither of its banks and Turkey had already made her choice. With the launching of EU accession negotiations in October 2005, I came to believe that we had finally crossed the Bosporus Bridge and were travelling irreversibly towards the West. This by no means meant a rupture with the East for obvious reasons including geography and history.  Moreover, our good relations with the region were an asset for the EU. Okumaya devam et

Idlib: Raising the Stakes to What End?

(Co-authored with Yusuf Buluç)[i]

February 20, 2020

Ten days ago, President Putin had a telephone conversation with President Erdogan at Turkish side’s initiative. A statement by the Kremlin said that the two leaders noted the importance of the full implementation of the existing Russian-Turkish agreements, including the Sochi Memorandum of September 17, 2018 and additional contacts between the relevant government agencies were planned for these purposes.

A few days later Presidents Erdoğan and Trump had a phone call. “The President expressed concern over the violence in Idlib, Syria and thanked President Erdogan for Turkey’s efforts to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement. “President Trump also reiterated that continued foreign interference in Libya would only serve to worsen the situation,” he added, a discouraging reference to Ankara’s support to the Government of National Accord (GNA), led by Fayez al-Sarraj. Okumaya devam et

No to Greater Involvement in Libya

December 28, 2019

The fighting and the humanitarian tragedy in Yemen remind older generations of Turks of a beautiful but sad folk song, “Yemen türküsü”[i], mourning the loss of thousands of Turkish soldiers in this far away part of the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. Its goes;

There are no clouds on air, why is this smog?

There are no deceased in neighborhood, why is this outcry?

Mum, I haven’t died yet, why is this groan?

This is Yemen, its rose is grass

Those who go there do not return, I wonder why? Okumaya devam et

The Arab Spring Nine Years On

 

December 2, 2019

The Arab Spring began on December 17, 2010 in Tunisia as street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi set himself on fire to protest the arbitrary seizing of his vegetable stand by police. Mass protests forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to resign in January 2011, after 23 years in power and go into exile in Saudi Arabia.

In February 2011, mass protests forced Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to resign after three decades in power. Okumaya devam et