Turkey may be expelled from NATO for the “Kurdish issue”, but it is ready for it.
Suspended by US pressure, the Turkish army’s operation in northern Syria could not stand the agreed 120 hours of ceasefire, and hostilities resumed there. Maybe not with much activity, but who knows what will happen tomorrow.
The situation is extremely tense – on the one hand, Turkish troops, on the other, the government army of Bashar al-Assad, who entered the northeastern part of Syria, between them are the Kurdish “Self-Defense Units”. Nobody is going to retreat. Only the US military contingent withdrew from this area in advance, but Washington continues to consider its role in this conflict “dominant.” Nevertheless, both Ankara and Tehran consider Moscow exclusively as a “peacemaker”.
On Tuesday, October 20, a meeting is planned between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Erdogan in Sochi, where he will arrive by official invitation. It is clear that in Bocharov’s residence, the main topic of negotiations will be exclusively the theme of Syria and the Turkish military operation taking place there now. It would seem that in this situation, no compromise is possible.
Turkey has its own interests, and it intends to create a security zone near its borders, crowding out the Kurds, whom it considers terrorists. Russia has its own – the support of President Assad and the preservation of the territorial integrity of Syria. How can you agree here?
However, we recall that shortly before the start of the military operation in Syria, Erdogan discussed his plans by telephone with Putin. And according to a statement published on the Kremlin’s website, the Russian president merely “called on the Turkish partners to carefully weigh the situation so as not to harm the overall efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis.” That is, he didn’t particularly mind, but asked not to cross the line. Russia’s official position is well known – Moscow supports the idea of creating a Constitutional Committee, which should become an important milestone in the process of resolving the protracted (since 2011) Syrian conflict. According to the Kremlin, maintaining the territorial integrity of Syria and respecting its sovereignty are important conditions for maintaining peace in this Middle East region. And Putin also made a reservation for this with Erdogan.
There is also a legal nuance. In September 1998, a Turkish-Syrian agreement (Adan Agreement) was signed in the city of Adana in southern Turkey, according to which Syria stopped supporting the Kurdistan Workers Party and expelled its leader Abdullah Ocalan from its territory.
Let us refer to the opinion of the leading researcher at the Center for Asian and African Studies at the Higher School of Economics, Alexei Obraztsov.
– And although Turkish troops are now in Syria, let’s say so, at the invitation of themselves, there is an Adan agreement that allows them to cross the Syrian border to a depth of 5 kilometers. Of course, now the Turks talk about 30 kilometers, nevertheless, there is a certain legal basis for Turkey’s military presence in Syria, albeit with reservations.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who believes that Turkey and Syria can use it to ensure a border security regime, also refers to the Adan Agreement. It must be assumed that Turkey decided to use this right, but it will establish the verge of what is permitted. Erdogan is now trying not to get into trouble. He agreed to a temporary ceasefire under US pressure, but he also hears the opinion of Russia. Recently, the Turkish president said that if Manbij (a city in the alleged security zone in northeastern Syria) is occupied by Russian or Syrian troops, then there will be no cause for concern. At the same time, Erdogan once again noted that Turkey does not lay claim to the territory of Syria.
It can be assumed that the compromise between Putin and Erdogan, not without the participation of, probably Bashar al-Assad, will be that the territory of Syrian Kurdistan in northern Syria will be controlled by three participants in this “game” – Turkey, Syria and Russia, which did not abandon supporting official Damascus. The “extra player” in this situation was the United States, which openly lost its positions in Syria.
President Trump is trying to make a “good face in a bad game.” And he makes absolutely ridiculous statements about Syria, from where, according to his decision, American troops were withdrawn. And he takes credit for an agreement to end the offensive operations of the Turkish army.
- This is an amazing result. We could have lost millions of lives, but we could not have achieved this result if we hadn’t been.
We could have lost millions of lives, but we could not have achieved this result if we did not have a bit of “hard love”, as I call it … I will tell you on behalf of the USA – I want to thank Turkey. As a result, now we are all happy! And I’m happy because we no longer have the fighting. I think President Erdogan is very smart, – Trump wrote on his Twitter page. Forgetting that on the eve he called on Erdogan “not to be a fool.”
Syria for Trump before the US presidential election is a rather sore subject. He stated that the presence of US military contingents in the Middle East was a “big mistake”, alluding to the decisions of their predecessors. At the same time, he received a blow under the breath from the Democrats, who accused him of “betraying the Kurds.” Plus, the US military warned Trump that the withdrawal of troops from Syria would result in a revelry of the ISIS terrorist organization.
In particular, this idea was expressed by the former head of the Pentagon, General James Mattis, who is in opposition to the current president. Trump has to get out, therefore, in his statements, Turkey is either “bad” or “good”, saying that “Turkey is cooperating with the United States, and in the future we intend to continue negotiations.” But, presumably, Erdogan did not forget the words about the “fool” and made his own conclusions.
Trump sometimes speaks frankly. The other day, he announced that he would meet with Putin on October 22. On the day when the Russian president actually has a meeting with Erdogan in Sochi. Only Bashar al-Assad, as another participant in the negotiation process, may become its participant, but there is no official confirmation of this. In general, no one is waiting for Trump in Sochi – they will reconcile Syria without his participation. And, with a greater degree of probability, precisely according to the Russian scenario, in which Turkey will play a significant role.
Turkey itself was at the Syrian crossroads, having entered into conflict over its military operation with almost all NATO countries. They just want to kick it out of the alliance now. In the USA, both the Democrats and the “faithful Trump” Republicans fought against Turkey. Republican Senator Jim Rich and Democrat Bob Menendez recently introduced a new sanctions bill, which, in addition to restrictions, requires Trump to study the issue of Turkey’s membership in the North Atlantic Alliance.
In France, members of the National Assembly called on the government to impose sanctions on Ankara in connection with the military operation that the country is conducting in Syria. Measures can go as far as suspension of a country’s membership in NATO. Well, the long-awaited path to the EU for Turkey now seems unlikely. France in this matter was actively supported by Germany and Great Britain, and almost all NATO member countries stopped the supply of any weapons to Turkey.
Erdogan attacked the “partners” quite calmly and did not show panic, indicating that he would pursue his policy in Syria without their wishes. And instead of talking with Merkel, Macron and Johnson, ignoring American wishes, he will now meet with Putin.
What are the options for agreements? It is possible that they will remember the Adan Agreement and Turkey will enter the agreed 5 kilometers. The rest of the territory in the security zone will be controlled by the Syrian government army, the Kurdish armed forces that will be part of it, as well as Russian units, as a guarantor of peace and stability. No Americans.