"Binali Yildirim said in a televised address Wednesday that Turkey is expanding its circle of friends, adding: “I am sure that we will return (our) ties with Syria to normal. We need it.”
The statement follows the restoration of diplomatic ties with Russia and Israel. Ankara cut ties with Syrian President Bashar Assad after a popular uprising erupted in 2011.
The Turkish government has consistently cast the departure of Assad, who enjoys the backing of Iran and Russia, as necessary for a successful political resolution to the conflict in Syria.
Turkey, which borders Syria, is now is home 2.75 million Syrian refugees. It has served as a base to political representatives of the Syrian opposition and various rebel groups seeking to unseat Assad." washpost
I will have to see it to believe it.
- Will Turkey seal its borders against the non IS jihadis it has been supporting?
- Will Turkey really offer Turkish citizenship to these jihadis more or less trapped in Turkey by a border closure? To do so is to sponsor the creation of an internal 5th column.
- Will Turkey take part in combined operations with Russia against its former jihadi allies?
- Would the abased but still strong Turkish Army (the children of Ataturk) not take notice of Erdogan's weakness?
If all this happens the Syrian government will eventually emerge as one of the strongest military powers in the Levant. The Israelis and the Gulfies would then have reaped the whirlwind.
Such a future would be the most profound kind of defeat for the Borg and its servants in Washington. I am particularly thinking of the malevolent creature Ash Carter.
I hope, but need to see more before I will believe. pl
The reporting today on Yildirim’s words is only half the beef.
He first took that line up some two days ago. Hurriyet reported:
The normalization of Syria is possible but everybody should make sacrifices for this. Our strategic partners and coalition partners should heal the bleeding wound in Syria and take more responsibility. As Turkey, we are exerting necessary efforts to open the doors of peace and security,” Yıldırım said.
But Yıldırım said there would be no meeting with the country in the short term. “The oppression should first end. The dictatorial regime should end. What will you agree on with a regime that has killed more than a half million of its people without blinking an eye? Everybody already agrees on this,” he said.
Sounds like “better relation with Syria after regime change is done” to me.
As for giving Syrians Turkish passports – these would be only given to the “elite” – established businessmen, doctors etc. The rabble would be send home or to Germany.
Col. Lang –
Any idea if this is a result of the recent NATO summit?
I doubt it . I am more inclined to think that the damage done to the Russian embargoes was effective. the NATO thing seems to me to run contrary to acceptance of Russian demands. pl
Hasn’t someone written that the actual reference is to the Turkomen who are long-time residents of Syria and that most of them are Shia (which might go down well in public opinion)?
Public opinion where, in Turkey? I doubt that making a lot of them Turkish citizens would gain much favor for Erdogan. I guess they are what is called “Alevi” in Turkey as opposed to “Alawi,” something quite different. pl
Turkey may be trying to return to its pre-Syria “zero problems with our neighbors” policy. They may not completely abandon the rebels but try to pursue a diplomatic solution.
IMO they would have a hard time straddling that divide. the Russians would be watching them. pl
“Hasn’t someone written that the actual reference is to the Turkomen ”
Erdogan’s spy chief imported Uyigur Jihadists as “Turkman” via travel from China to Bangkok where they were handed real fake Turkish passports to proceed to Istanbul. There they had to give up the passports and travel to Syira where they settled in Alawite villages the Jihadists had conquered. These “Turkmen” currently fight in Latakia. The Russians and the Chinese are eager to bury them. Erdogan may no longer oppose that.
Here is that story. No major outlet wrote about it:
Boris Johnson (their Trump) just appointed UK FM and has been supportive of working with Russia on Syria.
Col: Erdogan lacked the patience for allowing Turkey’s slow rise in their neighborhood. He never gave his neighbors time to adjust to increased Turkish influence. His pro-Jihadi policy also has shredded any illusions that Turkey is ready for regional leadership.
There are/were genuine Turkmen, who speak Turkish and are of non-Semitic origin, in both Iraq and Syria. Their populations, as minorities, were non-negligible in both countries before the current Borgian mess. The non-Sunni among them received no aid from tayip and his coreligionists when they came under attack. A simple web-search will yield enough real references. The selective coverage of “minorities” in the ME reported by SJW of all leanings is quite amusing.
Yes it is an appointment that has surprised us all, what the result will be we will have to wait and see, but Boris is far too smart and independent minded, which has been reflected in his comments every now and then. I am no particular fan of the new Prime Minister but I am hopeful she will be an improvement on the dire Cameron.
Of course Boris’ great-grandfather was Ali Kemal, briefly Minister of the Interior in the Ottoman Empire.
I suspect Erdogan can see which way the Syrian conflict is going. Apparently he was ignored and looked angered at the NATO gathering, economic and strategic realities means Turkey needs good relations with Syria, Iran and Russia.
Most folks here would not know about Ali Kemal, the British answer to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. One should choose one’s collaborators wisely.
I nearly fell out of my chair when I heard, however, I believe May is about to reveal who she really is now that she’s in the top job – a closer cleaving to Disraeli domestically, but the full Palmerston when dealing with other countries.
>”If all this happens the Syrian government will eventually emerge as one of the strongest military powers in the Levant. The Israelis and the Gulfies would then have reaped the whirlwind.”
I have been thinking about this for months. Every cent not spent on rebuilding Syria is going to be spent on building up the military. Same in Iraq eventually. The whole block from Lebanon to Iran is eventually going to be stronger, more united and less willing to take sh_t from any one.
Turkey was the ultimate case of “people in glass houses”, not only will it be easier for any of the above to stir the pot in Turkey but the Turks have truly shot themselves in the foot. All these islamists aren’t going to be welcome in Lebanon, Syria … even the Saudis aren’t going to want them back. Turkey is going to be left holding the bag of Jidists when it is all over.
As for the Saudis they’ve know all along what is coming …
Sure, there were real Turkman in Sy/Iq. I believe thought that there were far less than the millions Turkey claims.
But what Erdogan and his propaganda folks now call “Turkman” in Syria are mostly foreign Jihadists imported throughout the last years. Chechen, Uyigurs, Uzbeks, Tatars etc. There was a serious campaign to attract them. They came with families.
Erdogan now uses these fake “Turkman” to internally justify transferring weapons etc to them. They run as “Turkistan Islamist party” under Nusra command and with other names under the FSA label.
Turkey will never talk to Assad regime: officials
Officials tell Al Jazeera policy towards Syrian regime stays same, after reports suggesting PM intends to mend ties.
Turkish foreign policy remains unchanged towards the Syrian regime and there is no possibility of re-establishing relations as long as President Bashar al-Assad stays in power, two Turkish officials have told Al Jazeera.
That may be hedging towards the Gulf but who knows what Erdogan is really thinking. I always expect the worst with him.
Boris is a big friend of the Kurds. He has visited Erbil along with his bud, Anglo-Kurdish MP Nadhim Zahawi and proposed giving the Pesh heavy weapons. And previously in London he hosted and talked trade with KRG prime minister Nechirvan Barzani.
Boris wants to turn Erbil into the banking center of the middle east. I hope the Kurds are savvy enough to keep Barclays out. He claims it has nothing to do with the fact that Iraqi Kurdistan (if you include all of Kirkuk province) theoretically has the 6th largest oil reserves in the world.
HSBC bank is already there, hopefully no longer doing money laundering.
all the assurances of Turkey’s good intentions toward Russia and Syria could simply be a tactical recalibration of Erdogan’s neo-Ottoman ambitions.
Hours after saying Turkey needed to return to normal relations with Syria, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım has said that for anything to change on the Turkish side regarding Syria, first Syrian President Bashar al-Assad needed to go.
“It is for sure that something needs to change in Syria but above all al-Assad must go first,” Yıldırım told BBC’s HARDtalk program.
“Without al-Assad changing, nothing will change in Turkey. The main reason things have come to this point is because of al-Assad,” he added.
This piece is, in my view, correct:
Why recent steps with Israel, Russia won’t really change Turkish foreign policy
In sum, Erdogan is not changing his foreign policy — he is resetting it. Getting the foreign policy ship afloat is nothing but an attempt to reset — or jump-start — his pro-Sunni, Islamist agenda.
What Turkey needs is not a reset but a reformatting of its foreign policy — a reprogramming from A to Z. This means the dismantling of an extremely personalized Islamist and sectarian foreign policy and its replacement with a secular one that relies on the Foreign Ministry’s institutionalism and projects the classic values of modernity to the Middle East, namely human rights and democracy. With Erdogan in office, none of these can ever materialize.
Well here are the thoughts of our new Prime Minister’s right hand man on foreign policy. Encouraging.
“So if – in addition to the many individual policy, governmental and operational lessons there are to be learned – there is a single, overriding lesson from Iraq, it is surely that we need to rediscover the principles of a traditional, realist, conservative foreign policy. Value stability. Respect sovereignty. Do not make foreign policy part of an ideological crusade. Do not try to recreate the world in your own image. Do not, however much you might disapprove of a dictator’s abuse of human rights, use that as a pretext for regime change. Always act on the basis of the national interest. Above all, understand the risk involved when things change in complex and volatile states.” –
Probably a safe assumption that Russia and Turkey have agreed to share intelligence, probably with regard to Islamic forces out of the Caucasus in light of the composition of the Istanbul airport bombers. Beyond that I can’t imagine Russia trusting Erdogan.
Second, Erdogan has to be thinking about his delusional role in the greater Sunni world as the prospect of Mosul and Raqqa’s collapse can be seen in the distant horizon a year or so out. One can only speculate that there is some ‘day after’ plan but given US’ incredible and persistent blindness to what that might mean, I’m sure Erdogan has given it more thought; no doubt believing he is the man of the hour.
A selection of quotes. An interesting description of Hillary Clinton.
As for Papua New Guinea, it is not PC to say it, but he’s of course right: that’s what a traditional diet is about, really — natural proteins sourced locally and free-range animal breeding.
In a Telegraph column headlined I Want Hillary Clinton to be President, Johnson describes the Democrat: “She’s got dyed blonde hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital”.
I agree with the first part.
The ambition is not neo-Ottoman; it is the very common and very strong desire among many of the more religious & observant Muslims – Shia or Sunni – to restore a form of Caliphate that would embody a Just Muslim Political Order worthy of the ideals of Islam.
We should take note of the NYT story this morning delineating the proposal that Kerry is carrying to Moscow. As FB Ali and others foresaw, it is a thinly disguised attempt to neutralize the Russian factor. In exchange for the establishment of a joint center in Jordan to coordinate targeting against al-Nusra (Ahrar al-Sham & Assoc excluded) – a symbolic recognition of Russia’s status as a protagonist, Washington wants 1) the Russians to get de facto prior approval before launching air strikes and a limitation on legitimate targets; and 2) Moscow’s commitment to assistance in removing Assad. Not what one would call a proposition Putin can’t refuse.
“and others?” pl
Wisdom and perspicacity is so widespread among SST contributors, that I did not wish inadvertently to offend any of them whose correct forecasting I may have missed.
Perhaps HSBC bank will work on learning how to do money dry-cleaning.
I have heard mention of Ali Habeeb as a replacement for Assad acceptable to both Russia and Turkey. This may explain the apparent Turkish about-turn. He was a senior military officer until recently.
No way for me to confirm this – perhaps the Turkish members of the committee can help?
One Alawi or another? I guess this might appeal to those who want to over personalize everything. pl
I can’t see the rabidly anti-Alawi factions accepting him. I can’t see the anti-government factions accepting anyone affiliated with the regime.
On the other hand, he is a serious officer who has not been part of the recent fighting. He may be more acceptable to the majority of Sunnis than Assad because he does not have (recent) blood on his hands and to the majority of Alawis and other minorities because he is not tarnished by the incompetence and greed of Assad’s gangsters. He has more of a chance to forge a Syrian army than Assad, perhaps?
Turkey would save face. Russia and Turkey would have a viable Syrian state to deal with. Would Iran accept? Would the Saudis try to kill the idea at birth?
Perhaps I am clutching at straws. My family have had enough of this war.
This is not a matter of personalities. This is a struggle of the minority populations plus many Sunnis against enslavement by Sunni jihadis. pl
The point is that Bashar is the focus of much hatred and derision. Habib would carry much less baggage and would be more able to deliver without the need for Afghan militias, for example. Do you think Air Force Intelligence can simply order the Shabbiha about? The current government is not credible, even in the eyes of its’ supporters. The question is, could a change be made without the state collapsing further?
I understand your point and reject it. IMO to remove Assad will cause a de-stabilization of the government and lead eventually to a jihadi take-over. Is that what you want? Do you work for the Obozo Administration? pl
Thank you for answering my question.
To answer your questions: no & no.
I have already lost, and have more to lose, because of the war, than any commentor on this blog. My city is destroyed and my family are scattered. And the government is not able to deliver, even with considerable help from Iran and Russia and Iraq and Hizballah. It is entirely legitimate to ask why.
“It’s not over until the fat lady sings.” pl
A brilliant phrase – “the malevolent creature Ash Carter”. And that might be understating things.
“He may be more acceptable to the majority of Sunnis than Assad”
As far as we can tell Assad is well accepted by the majority of Sunnis in Syria. Why change that?
One question: Would or could Sec of Def. Ash Carter stay on in the new administration next January?
I gather HRC may stick with him but Trump may not
I understand your disarray and you have my sympathy; being ignorant of your actual position and reaction at the begining of this mess I shall consider only the possibilities as they look today.
IMO Syria has no middle term solution: either defeating the djihadists and then working on more democracy or being under Isis, Al Kaïda rule.
Even partition (except maybe for a semi-autonomous Syrian Kurdistan) would be a very dangerous temporary option.
The Russians have consistently stated that only the Syrians may choose their head of state.