Irredentist Turkey?


"Minutes ago, the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed the Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad during a press conference in Tunisia, labeling him a ‘terrorist.’

” It’s impossible to work on a solution in Syria with Assad, he is a terrorist leading a state of terror,” Erdogan told the crowd."  AMN


Erdogan has been making equivocal noises about Assad for some time.  This is probably because of Russian influence.  The Russians are continuing their effort to close out the war in Syria with the present Syrian government still in power and a satisfying number of "harvested" jihadis on their score card.  Yesterday Turkey and Russia announced a deal for the sale to Turkey of the Russian S-400 SAM system.  Perhaps Erdogan thinks that gives him more leverage with the Russians in the Syria peace negotiations.

I suspect that Erdogan's goal is to retain as much of Syria's territory as possible in the areas that the Turks have occupied in the last year.  In his imagined role as restorer of the Ottoman Empire such action would have a certain logic.  pl

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19 Responses to Irredentist Turkey?

  1. robt willmann says:

    A Syrian warplane went down in the Hama area probably yesterday, 26 December–
    This video of a shoulder-fired missile weapon may (if authentic as to this incident) show what was fired at and caused the plane to crash–

  2. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Col. Lang:
    Erdogan wants to avoid the political costs that Iran has borne among Sunni Muslims all over the world, viz. “Iran murderer, Iran – Defender of Dictator.”
    Later, he would plead Superpower Duress to further whitewash himself. Internally, Alevis are with the Party of Ali and he knows it.

  3. GeneO says:

    He is trying to build up justification for a permanent status of his Vilayets of Jarabulus, A’zaz, and al Bab. And also the TKK’s permanent occupation of Dar Ta’izzah down in Idlib Privince.

  4. Chiron says:

    If Erdogan was smart he should have regrets about the Syrian Civil War, it only empowered Turkey’s real enemies, Kurdish separatists who are already supported by Israel and US.

  5. LeaNder says:

    related to the fact that the Syrian dissents are protected by Turkey, as vaguely hinted at over here? Or more complex?

  6. EEngineer says:

    The leverage works the other way. Delivery doesn’t happen until/unless he behaves.

  7. Greco says:

    He fears the potential emergence of a Kurdish state, which would threaten Turkish sovereignty in the future.
    With the way things are going in Turkey we’ll have a new Iran at the door step of Europe.

  8. It will be interesting to see what happens when, after Idlib has been dealt with, Assad demands Turkish troops be removed. Almost certainly Assad will get Putin’s support in that demand and Russia can simply tell Erdogan “you get no S-400’s until your troops leave.” Erdogan for his part will be playing the “Kurds are terrorists so we can stay” card. Since the US may well still be supporting the Kurds against Assad, this may not play well with the US, leaving Erdogan between the US and Russia again.
    It may take another year or more but Turkey will get forced out eventually. However, that might also depend on how things develop generally in the region. An Israeli and/or US attack on Hizballah in Lebanon which extends into Syria might alter the situation.

  9. Sans Racines says:

    As I hazard you’ve suggested before Col. Lang, it seems Erdogan can’t be pinned down to a single position – very slippery! In oher news a post on Canthama suggets Turkey has finally been declared a Caliphate – real news?

  10. Sans Racines says:

    Col Lang., I read the article linked on Canthama after posting my comment on your site – turns out it’s only a local AKP mayor, not Turkey, so there’s no substance to that part of my comment. Apologies!

  11. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    The Chief of General Staff of the Russian Army Gen. Valery Gerasimov recently a summary of the challenges they faced operating in Syria. Maxim Suchkov provides an English translation of the highlights in a twitter stream at the URL below:

  12. Linda says:

    Well Iran at the doorstep of reminds one of the Ottomans at of Europe in the 17th century. I’m not sure things would end any better for the Iranians than it did for the Ottomans

  13. kooshy says:

    As it is well known in Turkey, Erdo talks from all sides of his mouth, some believe this lip service was a pre-conditioning support for his PM’ visit to KSA today. Tomorrow, for and with another group, he will say something to please them. One can’t count and make plan on what he says.

  14. Charles Michael says:

    I rather agree, the Erdogan is famous for Uturnson a dime, plus the Turquey/EU charade is still going on:
    Sigmar Gabriel said in an interview with German media group Funke, published on Tuesday.
    “I can’t imagine Turkey or Ukraine becoming EU members in the next few years,” he said. “This is why we have to consider other ways of close cooperation.”
    you have also on AJ same day an article on Erdo trip to Tunisia, sligthly edulcorated, rejoigning the AM news.

  15. Annem says:

    The comments certainly sound like Erdogan has departed the tripartite agreement with Russia and Iran, at least rhetorically. I wonder what he is up to. He is obviously playing those allies against the EU and US, but he has a real knack for misreading events. Right now, he is basking once again in the glow of Palestinian and perhaps other Arab approval for his state about Jerusalem and seeming willingness to stand up for the regional players attacked by Saudi, like Abu Mazen and Saad al Hariri. He also just sent more troops to Qatar.
    We’ll see what happens when the SAA fights its way north in Idlib, into the path of all the Turkish client jihadis and their own troops. In the meantime, the population of Jarabulus is no happier with a Turkish micromanagement occupation than the people of Raqqa with the SDF Kurds in charge of their lives.
    In any case, Syria seems to be rushing towards a long stalemate, with the opposition refusing to discuss anything until Assad is gone, which seems to be our position again, and the US staying put until a new government to its satisfaction is created. Only then would we push Turkey to withdraw. Russia’s bottom line is not the preservation of al Assad, per se, but preventing the collapse of the Syrian state and the mess that followed our doing so in Iraq. We shouldn’t rule out Russian selection of another regime figure. They have a good argue to make that under no circumstances would the takeover of secular Syria by a Saudi-backed Islamist government be in anyone’s interests. The break up of Syria isn’t either, except perhaps Israel and by extension, the US.
    The latest spat between Turkey and the UAE comes from a UAE charge that Ottoman Medina Governor during WWI looted the Holy Cities, taking both personal property as well as manuscripts, etc., from religious centers. [You will recall that said governor, Fehreddin Pasha, refused to surrender to the Arab Army even when under orders from the Sultan following the armistice, doing so only months later in surrendering to Jordan’s King Abdullah I] In retaliation for this affront, the current sultan has changed the name of the street in Ankara on which the UAE embassy is located to “Fahreddin Pasha Street.”

  16. kooshy says:

    Erdo should know, If it wasn’t for Mr. Assad’ staunch allies Iran and Russia, by now, he would have been dead and buried by his NATO allies with a dagger up his rectum. IMO US, west, Israel, KSA don’t want ERDO, because, he just like Gaddafi and Saddam, is an ambitious unpredictable, unreliable and worst of all an instantaneous servant. These kind of disobeying political servants, at the end, can be damaging to whom they were supposed to serve.

  17. Ishmael Zechariah says:

    Col. Lang, SST;
    tayyip is using all issues to make sure he is elected as the Sultan in 2019. He is rather selective in re-forming the Ottoman Empire. The leader of the left-leaning opposition party, one Kilicdaroglu, has challenged tayyip to deal w/ some Agean Islands occupied by Greece and tayyip-the-hero has chosen to take a pass ( ). As others have remarked, one should not read much into what tayyip says about foreign policy. He turns w/ the wind.
    Ishmael Zechariah

  18. LeaNder says:

    yes interesting, is it a German only standard?*, Gabriel seems to have gained gravitas since he took over as interim foreign minister. Before his necessarily populist soul as politician in a coalition stumbled, verbally. But strictly the latest coalition fight between CDU/CSU and SPD is not over yet.
    What I personally considered one of his verbal lapses had the pictorial result/demand of Gabriel (next to Merkel, no doubt) on/to the gallows. ‘The Righteous Germans’ felt insulted. -…
    * I am wondering somewhat, if it may be the office as foreign minister and the person itself ultimately does not matter to the same extend. Or if he has the better briefings? No idea?

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