INTERVIEW: US-Turkey Military Conflict a Possibility – Turkey needs Russia as an alternative to the West

Damir Nazarov interviews Musa Ozugurlu

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EADaily correspondent Damir Nazarov spoke with Turkish journalist Musa Ozugurlu about the external conditions and internal political processes in Turkey .

Musa Ozugurlu (Musa Özuğurlu) – Turkish journalist, columnist “Duvar” (Duvar), an expert on the Middle East. Employee of the channel ARTI TV.

Musa Özuğurlu
Musa Özuğurlu

Q: Last month, the Turkish Air Force attacked the positions of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) in Iraq. At the same time, Ankara attacks the PKK franchise the militia of the Kurds of Syria – the Popular Self-Defense Forces (YPG). Do you think there is a possibility of a new conflict between Turkey and the YPG in the north of Syria?

A: The conflict between Turkey and YPG depends on the situation. Turkey wants to launch an operation in the Kurdish areas in northern Syria, but for some reason it did not. The United States strongly opposed an operation of this kind. On the other hand, Syria, Iran and Russia do not want the presence of Turkey in this area. Because, if the Turks are present there, then there will be difficulties with their exit. Again, Syria wants to solve the Kurdish problem within the country, and not with other countries, such as Turkey or the United States. In addition, there are American troops there, and there may be a conflict between Turkish and American troops. On the other hand, if the Kurds cooperate with the United States, perhaps Syria will allow Turkey to carry out an operation against the Kurds in order to put pressure on them to accept Syria’s power. But the United States will do everything to prevent this.

Q: Why was Turkey unable to separate the terrorists from the moderate opposition in Idlib?

A: We must first ask: Does Turkey want to separate the terrorists from the moderates? And another question: is there a “moderate” in Idlib?

Turkey does not consider armed groups to be terrorist – including Hayat Tahrir ash-Sham (al-Nusra). Formally, Turkey has made Al-Nusru the list of terrorist organizations, but, in fact, it cooperates with An-Nusra, and there is no difference between Al-Nusra and others.

But the main reason is that Turkey wants to use these organizations as a tool against the Syrian authorities, Russia and Iran. Because after these organizations are defeated, Turkey will lose all the territories it holds. And this means that Turkey will lose its last chance to be present in Syria. Syria believes that Turkey is now creating a “Parallel State” in Idlib and other areas it holds. This is due to the long-term plan for the expansion of its territories on the Syrian land.

Thus, we cannot say that “Turkey could not separate,” but instead we say “Turkey did not want to separate.”

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Q: If the US approves the EastMed Act, what will Turkey do?

A: I think that if Ankara insists on the Eastern Mediterranean Act, this may cause a conflict between Turkey and the Greeks (Cypriots). Turkey is determined to defend its interests there. In 1974 the situation was different, and the conflict was local in nature. But now many countries are involved in the conflict. If the United States acts in accordance with the law of EastMed, there can be a big conflict between Turkey, Cyprus, Greece and (some states) in the EU. Perhaps this will be a lever for the US administration to take revenge on Turkey for the acquisition of S-400 systems from Russia.

Q: What does the purchase of S-400 by Ankara mean for relations between Turkey and Russia?

A: S-400 is not only a military issue, but also a political one. Turkey needs an alternative to the Western world, and this alternative is Russia. As soon as Turkey buys the system, its relationship with Russia will be stronger, which means that Turkey will be in the Russian axis for a long period of time. Russia is also trying to find a gap between the NATO countries, and at the same time wants to have an ally in the Middle East. Turkey has problems with other countries in the region, but Turkey is a strong country. In addition to Syria, Turkey can be a partner in the Mediterranean. Turkey’s security concerns also concern Russia and its security.

Q: Former Prime Minister Davutoglu, ex-President Gul, influential Ali Babacan have long been the main politicians in the Justice and Development Party (AKP). But now they have gone into opposition. What is the reason?

A: The long-term power of the AKP and Erdogan began to decline. There are many factors for this: the economic situation, the problems of democracy and justice, social problems, etc. These reasons have caused very strong discontent of citizens.

However, the main reason is Erdogan’s attempt to organize sole control and become the sole source of power. This desire led Erdogan to commit many mistakes from which he could not recover. This expansion of authority has increased disagreements with party members.

In Turkey, people are starting to think that it is time for Erdogan to leave, regardless of whether they are members of the AKP or not. Alternatives to the policies you specified were discovered because of this will and desire for Erdogan’s departure.

Q: After the victory of Imamoglu in the elections in Istanbul. Can we say that this moment shows “the beginning of the end of the era of Erdogan”?

A: Of course, this is the beginning of the end for Erdogan. Erdogan’s political career succeeded when he became mayor of Istanbul, and now his demise also began from Istanbul. If he had not lost Istanbul, perhaps the new party would not have been formed so early. The loss of Istanbul hastened the formation of a new party.


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