Mohammed Abdul Ghaffar
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dreamed of creating a new Ottoman caliphate at the helm, hoping to revive his ancestral empire once again, exploiting political crises and insecurity in countries surrounding the region such as Syria and Iraq.
Not only did the Turkish president dream, but he was quick to take actual steps, especially in the north of Syria, taking advantage of the presence of major unrest since 2011, and the presence of several terrorist organizations funded by Ankara inside.
Military operations and demographic change
Turkey has taken several steps in the north of Syria, beginning with military operations, such as the invasion of Afrin in the process of olive branch and the attack on Idlib in the operation “Euphrates Shield”, during which it succeeded to control geographically on the ground.
Ankara did not stop at the end of military operations, but turned to demographic change, by replacing factions loyal to them instead of Kurdish citizens who are there, which Erdogan considers an extension of the PKK, which is banned in Turkey.
Ankara has also worked to consolidate its presence in this region by replacing the Turkish language with Arabic in schools of all kinds, as well as changing street signs to Turkish; ensuring that the next generation will speak it instead of Arabic.
Universities are the target of change
in a new step to take control of northern Syria more intellectually and culturally,. The Turkish Gazette published on Friday, October 4, 2019, a statement that the Turkish University of Gaziantep opened three colleges for the first time in northern Syria.
The colleges were distributed in small towns in northern Syria, and were represented by a faculty of Islamic sciences in Azaz, Syria, an educational college in Afrin, and another for economics and management sciences in al-Bab, all of which are located in northwestern Syria, specifically in the west of the Euphrates River and north of Aleppo.
Turkey has sent its troops twice between 2016 and 2019 to the region, claiming to confront the YPG and expel them, claiming to protect the Turkish border from the Kurdish threat as Ankara described.
Gaziantep University, founded in 1973 within the Middle East Technical University before becoming independent in 1987, has become one of the leading tools of the Turkish regime in the intellectual and cultural incursion towards the Arab peoples.
This is reflected in the provision of academic programs in Arabic for Syrian and Palestinian students, whether they are in the last year of secondary school or in schools equivalent to their Turkish counterparts.
According to Turkish academic and researcher Ahmet Yayla, Turkey aims to be in the north of Syria for a long time and gradually annexing it to its areas of influence.
The researcher in the Turkish affairs said that Ankara has become leading many institutions within the cities of northern Syria and considered that this has become like a form of Turkish tutelage over Syria.