Thursday, February 2, 2023
10.4 C
Damascus
Thursday, February 2, 2023

Opinion | Türkiye’s rapprochement with Assad: A leap into the void

The Assad regime’s hostility towards Erdogan’s Türkiye has had no parallel since 2011. The regime has revitalized the issue of the Iskenderun District vigorously in its media discourse and policies, after the page of that district was removed from the regime’s literature and geography, especially after the signing of the Adana Agreement in 1998. Türkiye was referred to as The Ottoman Empire and accused of being responsible for bringing ISIS into Syria. For the Assad regime, Türkiye has turned into the enemy that embraces the agents and traitors of those who ruined Syria and Erdogan is nothing more than an agent of America, an ally of Israel, and a main partner in the global conspiracy against Syria.

According to Assad, Türkiye is the one which stole the factories of the Syrian north and is greedy for the riches of the fertile Syrian land. As for those Syrians who fled to Türkiye because of the regime’s atrocities, they are nothing more than traitors and agents for Türkiye. Their delegation to the negotiations was described by the Assad regime as Türkiye’s delegation. The Assad regime also views Türkiye as the one that encouraged Syrians to flee their homeland and invoked the story of Ansar and Muhajireen in order to inject sectarian poisons and turn the situation in Syria into a civil and sectarian war.

Türkiye sought to return the “favor” to all those who disappointed it or thwarted its project by embarrassing them and aggravating their situation through what was unfamiliar or expected, specifically by taking steps toward rapprochement with the Assad regime

Dr. Yahya Alaridi

Following Türkiye’s security and political moves during the past months, which coincided with its disappointment in the failure to carry out a military operation against what it considers a terrorist threat to its national security in north-eastern Syria, Türkiye sought to return the “favor” to all those who disappointed it or thwarted its project by embarrassing them and aggravating their situation through what was unfamiliar or expected, specifically by taking steps toward rapprochement with the Assad regime.

Türkiye knows how the Assad regime looks at it. Türkiye knows that this regime does not want the refugees to return to Syria, as it is unable to provide for even the basic needs of Syrians currently living under its control, let alone have to put up with and provide for those who rejected it and called for its overthrow in the first place. Evidence of the regime’s refusal to accept refugees was explicitly stated by its representatives as was leaked from the Moscow meeting.

Ankara knows the regime’s military decay and its dependence for its survival on the militias and its allies, Russia and Iran. The most important thing is Türkiye’s awareness of the regime’s relationship with the PKK as it is not possible for there to be a confrontation between the regime and those whose relationship with them is deeply rooted.

the Assad regime is unable to help itself, let alone be able to help Türkiye and that America supports its opponents, the PKK

Despite all this, and despite Türkiye’s deep knowledge of the realities of the Assad regime, it seems to have done an about-face leaving many Syrians feeling heartbroken and betrayed as if Türkiye is their custodian or guardian. Perhaps they were shocked and shaken in their confidence in a party they had always believed to be sincere in its relationship with them. Out of reproach, they reminded Türkiye of Syria’s martyrs and detainees, the displacement of the Syrian people and the destruction of their homes. They also reminded it of the weakness of the regime and its hatred of Türkiye and that the Assad regime is unable to help itself, let alone be able to help Türkiye and that America supports its opponents, the PKK.

Türkiye would not only find itself confronting the SDF but also seven million Syrians and America and Europe as well

Dr. Yahya Alaridi

Syrians have told Türkiye that if the goal of this move is economic, the regime is currently bankrupt and has nothing to export to Türkiye except Captagon. They said that the majority of Syrian refugees would rather die than go back to Assad’s rule, and the most dangerous of all they said was that Türkiye would not only find itself confronting the SDF but also seven million Syrians and America and Europe as well. And they are emotionally right in most of what they said, based on the brotherly relationship they have developed with Türkiye over the years.

However, after all these things are taken into consideration, one important question remains: Why is Türkiye taking such an approach in a seemingly shocking shift? Is it to tease America? Is it because of its deep knowledge of the dire Russian situation and its desire to have Moscow align itself with Türkiye in the face of America in order to relieve pressure on itself first of all in Ukraine and second in northern Syria? Hasn’t Türkiye calculated that Iran is the biggest ally of the Assad regime and does not want it to fall?  Is Türkiye’s national security suddenly an emergency issue sparking this dramatic shift to occur in Turkish political orientations? Or does Türkiye think that the mobilization of Syrian refugees in this way would withdraw a card from the hands of the Turkish opposition in the upcoming Turkish elections?

Neither Türkiye nor any of the regime’s protectors are capable of rehabilitating it or the country

Dr. Yahya Alaridi

In the end, Türkiye realizes more than any other party that it cannot achieve what the Captagonian Assad regime wants from it. Neither Türkiye nor any of the regime’s protectors are capable of rehabilitating it or the country. For its part, the Captagonian Assad regime knows this and that it cannot achieve what Türkiye wants from them either, even if it plays on a hundred ropes, especially while the Captagon rope hanging around its neck. Hence, is Türkiye simply performing political acrobatics hoping that its losses will not exceed its gains, especially morally, or is it taking advantage of the dilemmas being faced by the regime and its allies, by selling them some time and breathing space in exchange for empowering Türkiye’s influence on the Syrian file, so that it has the final say? Does Big Brother (America) allow this?

does Erdogan’s currently ruling party realize that a step marred by acrobatics could end up being a leap into the void causing them to lose the elections, not win them?

Dr. Yahya Alaridi

Finally, what about the voices of the Syrians who came out in huge numbers on the first Friday of the new year reminding everyone that millions of Syrians cannot be ignored in the Syrian issue? They — and no one else — will be the ones who ultimately decide the fate of Syria, no matter how diverse the whims and interests of the parties involved in the Syrian cause are. Finally, does Erdogan’s currently ruling party realize that a step marred by acrobatics could end up being a leap into the void causing them to lose the elections, not win them?

Yahya Alaridi
Yahya Alaridi
PhD in Media and Linguistics, George Town University, USA; Former Dean of the College of Media, Damascus University; Former Director of Channel Two (broadcasting in English), Syrian TV.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest articles