Etiket arşivi: Syrian conflict

The West Needs to Write a Success Story

August 22, 2022

With the war in Ukraine, “the emerging world order” has become a current topic with conflicting opening gambits.

The West argues for the rules-based international order, the body of rules, norms, and institutions that govern relations. Among those are treaties, international law, formal structures, institutions, and values at the center of which are democracy and respect for human rights.

Okumaya devam et

Turkey’s Middle East Policy Coming Full Circle

December 6, 2021

The so-called “Friends of Syria Group”, now history, held its first meeting in Tunis on February 24, 2012.  On April 1, 2012, it met for the second time in Istanbul.

Later that month in 2012, Turkey’s Foreign Minister delivered a major foreign policy speech in the parliament. Emphasizing the genuine desire for change underlying the Arab spring, he declared that attempts to explain the current developments with plans imposed from abroad and external conspiracies were primarily an insult to the honorable peoples of the region.

Okumaya devam et

Tough Choices for Ankara

November 8, 2021

Another operation by the Turkish Armed Forces in Syria is looming. President Erdogan gave the signal last month. Military reinforcements were sent to the border. On October 26, the Turkish parliament approved a motion extending authorization to launch cross-border operations in northern Iraq and Syria for two more years, as well as continued participation in the UN Interim Force in Lebanon. Yet, some are skeptical. Because there is no international support for such an operation.

Okumaya devam et

Turkey Needs to Pivot to Diplomacy

June 22, 2020

Ataturk was the hero of our War of Independence, the founder of the Republic and Turkey’s greatest ever reformer. His motto was, “peace at home, peace in the world”.

Suffice to say, we no longer have peace at home. Our democracy is in steep decline and we are polarized like we have never been.

Neither the world is at peace. Particularly in the Middle East internal strife and proxy wars are taking their toll on the unfortunate masses. Okumaya devam et

The Idlib Problem Still with Us

April 27, 2020

Coronavirus is seen as the greatest global challenge of modern times. Because, the death toll in some countries has reached tens of thousands. Just as important is the shock of unpreparedness, helplessness and vulnerability of a technologically advanced world under attack. A second wave is looming, but second-strike capability is of no consequence. Nonetheless, countries including those hardest hit are planning to ease restrictions because the economy matters. Okumaya devam et

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