DRUMS OF WAR: Erdogan’s Syria Occupation Now Threatens Deeper Military Crisis

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ANKARA – Erdogan’s recent statements now threaten a major war between Turkey and Russia which would easily serve as a gravitational center to a much broader global conflict. This is one which has been a possibility for the past decade, and only through diplomacy has it been possible to keep the US-Zionist instability project in the region at bay.

Now working to undermine this delicately balanced situation, Erdogan asked Putin “to get out of the way” and let the Turkish troops deal with Syrian President Bashar Assad, the Turkish leader told his AK Party on Saturday.

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“I asked Mr Putin: What’s your business there? If you establish a base, do so but get out of our way and leave us face to face with the Syrian regime”, Erdogan said.

Erdogan has gone on to appeal directly to Trump to act on Turkey’s behalf, himself facing a re-election.

A conflict could bode well for Trump, and therefore for Erdogan, because there is a view that American voters will tend to support a president if there is a direct military conflict. That thinking, however, may be antiquated – and there are strong reasons to believe so. Considering the U.S greatly decreased power-projection ability in the region, it could backfire in a tremendous way, leading not only to the undoing of a Trump presidency but also further erode American military prestige and any remaining confidence they have. The U.S certainly would be unable to act directly against Russia without taking tremendous losses, such that these would be unacceptable.

Moscow intervened in the Syrian conflict in 2015 to help Damascus fight against jihadist groups. Moscow said helping the Syrian government prevented future attacks launched by this would-be entity against other nations, including Russia. Unlike Turkey and the anti-Syrian alliance, Russia’s role  – like that of Iran’s – has been at the specific and direct request of the legitimate authorities in Damascus.

Erdogan said Ankara now considers Syrian government troops a legitimate target for its attacks, claiming Damascus lost over 2,100 soldiers in Idlib. It was not immediately clear if the casualty number only represents Syrian troops killed directly by the Turkish military or includes those killed by Turkish-backed armed groups. Erdogan added that “seven warehouses with chemicals” were also destroyed in Syria, but did not offer any details or evidence regarding whether Syria still had chemical weapons in its possession.

The Turkish president said he expects the international community and NATO in particular to support his country in the fight against the Assad government.

As a result, both countries have placed their military commands on higher levels of readiness, as tensions grow between the two Eurasian powers.

Erdogan owes much to Putin’s efforts in aiding to thwart a U.S backed coup against the beleaguered Turkish leader. Despite that, Erdogan has continued to pursue a neo-Ottoman policy on expansionism.

This has placed both Greeks and Syrians in the position of having to appeal to anti-Atlanticist power blocs to see this thwarted.

Erdogan has played a long-game, though transparent to many, wherein he attempted to make a duplicitous policy on Syria that appeared to placate both sides, while preparing a course which ultimately would push Russia to recognize its annexation of parts of Syria.

This threatens any resolution on the Syrian conflict acceptable to all those now involved, and readily appears to open the real possibility of a much broader and destabilizing military conflict between Russia and Turkey directly.

At the same time, Turkey has often used these bi-polar ‘about faces’ to improve their bargaining position in a post-war Syria. Turkey wants to control parts of Syria, but there are monetary and industrial ways to do this which do not include territorial annexation or governmental responsibility for services and the maintenance of civil society. FRN will be closely following these developments.

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