[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on Turkey and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Turkey Page Editors or of Jadaliyya.]
Turkey’s Losses in Syria, and the Aftermath
Deciphering Turkey’s darkest night in Syria. Metin Gurcan looks into the attack on a Turkish convoy that killed thirty-three soldiers not far from the Syrian city of Idlib. “Ankara is now in a conventional war with Damascus, albeit an undeclared one, and has come to the brink of a conventional confrontation with Moscow,” he writes.
The worst scenario is happening in Idlib. “Policymakers in Ankara were obviously in a miscalculation over the Russian stance as they were hoping that Turkey’s massive military deployment and reinforcements would deter the Russian-Syrian alliance. It simply didn’t. It’s time to return to realistic diplomacy,” argues Serkan Demirtaş.
From the Syrian Civil War to Turkish-Syrian War. “An array of miscalculations and misjudgments have been guiding Turkey which caused the loss of 53 of its troops in one month, put it practically into a war with both Syria and Russia, forced its foreign policy to falter, asking for support from NATO and causing another crisis with Greece and the EU due to migration issue,” writes İlhan Uzgel.
Turkey’s Relations with Russia
Idlib Test for Erdogan-Putin Relationship. “Turkish deterrence has failed in Idlib with serious implications for the country’s regional standing and prestige”, writes Bulent Aliriza, arguing that Turkey’s decision to escalate “to direct major engagement by Turkish troops with Assad’s forces” would be “highly risky without the ability to use Turkish air forces because of Russia’s total control of Syrian airspace.”
Is Sochi 2.0 possible? “There cannot be a new Syria if the new arrangement does not address Turkey’s security concerns. Even if it is created, it cannot survive,” argues Burhanettin Duran.
From Sochi to where? Rising uncertainties in Idlib. “Systematic violations of the Sochi deal by the Assad regime and Russia have put Turkey in an awkward position. If the Assad regime and Russia insist on a military approach for the solution to the Syria crisis, Ankara and Moscow are more likely to drift apart on other issues as well,” writes Talha Köse.
All eyes on Moscow as Erdoğan and Putin meet for Syria talks. “Whatever solution is found in Moscow to the current tension, it will likely be a short-term fix. In the long run, Idlib will keep exposing Turkey’s foreign policy missteps and all the troubles the war in Syria has caused for Erdoğan at home,” argues Gönül Tol.
Turkey’s Relations With the West
No, you cannot blame Turkey. “If the EU and the U.S. had seen the sinister plans of Assad nine years ago and shared Turkey’s burden of the Syrian refugees, Turkey would not be compelled to seek support from Russia or Iran,” writes Hakkı Öcal, arguing that now the West cannot blame Turkey.
Will NATO come to Turkey's aid in Syria? “NATO is unlikely to assist the Turkish military in the multilateral conflict in Syria, despite Turkey’s strategic importance to the alliance,” writes Timur Göksel.
Turkey’s “Open Borders”
Greece Suspends Asylum as Turkey Opens Gates for Migrants. “The military deployed troops to the Greek border with Turkey, warned migrants by text message not to cross and announced summary deportations,” reports Matina Stevis-Gridneff. Ankara has opened its borders to the refugees in the aftermath of the attack on Turkish troops in Syria.
'Just run': on the Turkey-Greece border as refugees try to break through. “By noon much of the crowd had broken through the Turkish side of the fence on the border and pushed into the no-man’s land between the two nations, where they set up camp, while others stood facing the Greek police. Young men began hurling stones, leading the police to respond by firing stun grenades and tear gas canisters.” Ghaith Abdul-Ahad reports from the border.
Turkey’s darkest hour with Europe. “I do not think that either the public in Turkey or Turkish politicians are aware of the grimness of the situation. Turkey’s public psyche has gone berserk with all sorts of negative emotions, and are unable to recognize that relations with Europe are completely wrecked beyond repair,” argues Sezin Öney.
Europe and NATO’s Shame Over Syria and Turkey. “Instead of Europe becoming a serious foreign policy actor, Turkey and the war in Syria are weakening the credibility of both NATO and the EU—while the suffering continues in Idlib,” writes Judy Dempsey.
What Turkey’s voters dislike most about their parties. Commenting on the results of a recent poll conducted by Turkiye Raporu, Can Selçuki argues that “Turkey’s two largest parties also have the most disgruntled base.”
Confessions of a former political Islamist irk “all the President’s men”. Zafer Yörük comments on an interview that former Turkish President Abdullah Gül gave to Karar. “Gül may this time have the courage to meet the challenge from the palace but there is much more that requires self-criticism, since he was by no means an outsider of the AKP circle of power.”
What's behind Ankara's decision to lift visit ban on jailed PKK leader? The ongoing operation in Syria might be behind the decision of lifting visit ban on PKK leader Öcalan, reports Amberin Zaman.
When one dies, the next goes up into the mountains. Semiran Kaya interviews director Selim Yildiz about his movie Dialogue, addressing “a social taboo which is a reality for many Kurds in Turkey: young men suddenly disappear and joined armed groups in the mountains.”
Turkey’s Losses in Syria, and the Aftermath
Kalbimiz Mehmetçik’le. In the aftermath of the attack in which thirty-three Turkish soldiers lost their lives in Syria, Ahmet Hakan contends in his editorial that the Turkish soldiers (mehmetcik) are defending their nation and that “the line of defense” was drawn at the Syrian city of Idlib.
Türkiye neden tuzağa düşürüldü? Arslan Bulut criticizes Turkey’s leadership for how it reacted to the attack in Syria. In the immediate aftermath, social networks were blocked and it was left to the governor of Hatay to update the death toll. “Was it the governor of Hatay to manage the Idlib operation?” asks Bulut.
Savaşsa savaş. “We tried everything. We used diplomacy until the end,” writes Hasan Basri Yalçın, arguing that despite Turkey being not keen to go to war, “there is also no way to escape from it.”
CHP lideri mi, Esed’in Büyükelçisi mi? Hilal Kaplan accuses the leader of the main opposition party, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, of acting as the “ambassador” of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. Kılıçdaroğlu has been critical of Turkey’s involvement in Syria.
Hedefi belirlenmeden plan yapılmaz. According to sources close to the opposition, the government and the main opposition party are in talks to move Turkish troops to a more secure area.
Her şey İsrail için… Yusuf Kaplan argues that Israeli-and partially British-interests are behind what is happening in the Middle East. The ultimate goal, according to the columnist, is to redesign the region.
İdlib’de kırılan vazo. Abdullah Muradoğlu writes that in Moscow, as in Washington, there are circles uncomfortable with the fact that relations between Russia and Turkey improved in recent years. He points his finger against “Israeli and Armenian lobbies.”
Kritik günler. According to Burhanettin Duran, many-Washington and Brussels in primis-are keen to take advantage of the difficulties in the relations between Ankara and Moscow.
Turkey’s Open Border
Hah! Avrupa dediğin anca bundan anlar! Ahmet Akan argues that while Europe is condemning Turkey, it is not willing to do enough to help the country, nor to solve the refugee crisis. Opening the border, he argues, is a move that Brussels will certainly understand.
Suriyelileri neden davet ettik, şimdi neden sürüyoruz? “It is time to remember why we invited the Syrians to Turkey and stop lying to ourselves,” writes Nevşin Mengü, arguing that sending busloads of refugees to the border does nothing but giving “a terrible image” of the country.
Siyasi cephane olarak harcanan sığınmacılar. Kadri Gürsel argues that the decision to open the border with Greece was taken also with a domestic goal in mind: to convince the voters that the government is acting on the refugee issue.
Ahlaki üstünlüğü yitirmek. Fatih Altaylı argues that, by opening the borders, Turkey has lost its moral superiority at the moment when it needed it the most.
Esnafın yüzü gülmüş. Engin Ardıç argues that, while some tradesmen in Turkey are far from smiling, others-the ones who are making money out of the needs of Syrian refugees are profiting from the current situation.
Published on Jadaliyya
Ayşe Parla, Precarious Hope: Migration and the Limits of Belonging in Turkey (New Texts Out Now)
Camila Pastor, The Mexican Mahjar: Transnational Maronites, Jews, and Arabs under the French Mandate (New Texts Out Now)
Urban Transformation and Resistance in Tarlabaşı: The Politics of a Delayed Construction Project in Istanbul
Judith E. Tucker, ed., The Making of the Modern Mediterranean: Views from the South (New Texts Out Now)