After nearly a decade of conflict, Syria’s suffering continues to increase as chances for a consensual solution out of the shallow, dark tunnel the country is in vanish. In their wake lies a true tragedy that will be fully seen when disasters of the 21st century are discussed.
One major factor in the exacerbation of the Syrian crisis is interference by foreign hands in favour of their own interests and agendas. It was those hands that took Syrian forces calling for change and turned them into tools for this purpose – like when Turkey recruited some Syrians.
Turkey has carried out three major military incursions into northern Syria since 2016, resulting in Turkish control in much of the territory formerly held by Kurdish forces. Turkey’s occupation of Syria diverts attention away from a national solution and sets up division and disunity.
Ankara supports flimsy claims on territory to expand its influence, and is working to eliminate the emerging seeds of a secular democratic experiment that is the autonomous administration in the Kurdish-controlled regions that the Kurds call Rojava.
Turkish forces have pushed a big demographic change, where they pushed Kurds out of their homelands to replace them with Turkmen/Arab tribes, supported fundamentalist groups and mercenaries, and used them against the Syrian people.
This will not continue as Turkey wishes. Such interventions will have consequences and repercussions, and although Ankara views the current results to be in its favour, this won’t last. The result of Turkey’s actions in Syria will not provide it with any backing to support Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s vision and destructive policies for the region.
The Turkish president intervenes with his neighbours in all directions, and fuelling conflicts wherever he can in tandem with his quest for hegemony and influence in the region. Erdoğan is standing on the edge of the abyss, and slowly slipping towards a pit of fire.
Turkey’s domestic situation is likely to get further aggravated due to its foreign interventions, and Erdoğan’s actions will catch up with him. Despite his slogans for intervention in Syria, his desire to bring down the Assad regime will see his regime affected before Assad’s.
Erdoğan’s perceived historical gains today are in fact the results of fragile deals with multiple parties, not based on a clear political vision or precise strategy. The lack of strategy will certainly cause a great negative impact when Turkey’s and its tactical partners’ interests collide. There are early signs that this will be happening soon, with the isolation of Turkey and its regime, and Arab and European attitudes turning away from what they were at the turn of the century when the Justice and Development Party (AKP) seized power in Turkey.
Erdoğan has made a launching pad out of Syria to access the rest of the region. He has played the Syrian refugees card against Europe, and turned the so-called Syrian opposition away from their cause and towards being his spearhead to be used in his regime’s regional wars. The Turkish president’s unwelcome efforts will be a gateway to the collapse of his regime, as his role and influence diminish.
Nothing will be remembered of the Erdoğan era, except for wars and Turkey’s entanglement in conflicts that diminished the country’s role in the region.
What Erdoğan envisioned as Turkey’s role would have been acceptable if it had took a turn towards serving the people and rejecting violence, genocide and destruction. Instead, he has used slogans like “preserving Turkish national security interests,” which are now at a greater risk than under Turkey’s non-interventionist policy in the past.
Erdoğan’s policies have only sparked negative reactions in the region and in the rest of the world, and his attempts to divert Turkish public opinion away from these reflections on his policies are evidence that he is aware of the distressing situation, and his loss of balance.
There is no logical or reasonable justification for Erdoğan’s actions in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, the Gulf, Libya, Africa, and recently, Azerbaijan-Armenia, the Mediterranean Basin, and Europe over Greece and France, except for a desire to mitigate the repercussions of his policies inside Turkey. In this, he will not succeed for long.