I do not totally agree with the Turkish policy towards the Syrian issue, but the reasons behind my less-than-critical position, compared with the aggressive behavior of Iran, are as follows:
1. Unlike all the other countries that the Syrians were forced to go to, Turkish treatment towards Syrian refugees is the closest to the international law and ethical requirements, in terms of receiving all without visas, facilitating their residency, giving them the opportunity to work and live a decent life, and facilitating their education. Meanwhile, Iran has been one of the main reasons for Syrians' displacement through its blind support for the regime of the tyrant.
2. Turkey has become an example, with its secular constitution and modern laws, even at the level of legislation of personal status (marriage, divorce and women's rights). Turkey tallied between secularism and democracy by enabling Turkey's religious party to rule the country several times over because of its ability to bring about economic development and fight corruption – which was rampant previously – without changing the State's constitution and its modern laws. This is the model which Arab political Islam was unable to learn from, as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria are still fighting the secularity of constitutions in order to form the constitutions which will enable them to control the power and the state together. Thus, the Turkish example might be one of the finest models to bring about real development in a Muslim community, while Iran is the worst example of the religious state.
3. I do not want to discuss Turkey's position towards the international alliance against terrorism emotionally, because I have no special emotions towards Turkey that may make me look at it any differently from states like Iran or Pakistan or Indonesia. Turkey is a state of institutions, it doesn’t deal with its national interests through emotions. Despite the emotional language used by Recep Tayyip Erdogan in marketing his attitudes toward the Syrian people, he has acted with deliberate pragmatism against all the provocations and even promises since the beginning of the Syrian revolution. Despite Erdogan's warnings to the regime of Damascus several times, that "We will not allow another Hama" and "we will not accept the number of refugees to exceed 100,000", the previous tragedy in Hama has now become a mere malaise in front of the tragedies that have occurred in Syria, and the number of refugees in Turkey has exceeded one million.
Erdogan has never exposed Turkey's security or economy or his popularity among the diverse segments of the Turkish people to risk for the sake of Syrians, and this this is a normal behavior for a professional politician. Nevertheless, Erdogan's conditions to join the alliance included safe areas for the Syrians to protect them from the explosive barrels falling on them daily, and the inclusion all foreign terrorists in Syria, whether they are from ISIS or Hezbollah, and to consider the mafia of Assad's regime and its crimes one of the main reasons behind the spread of the terrorist ideology in Syria. These conditions – though drafted according to the Turkish national interests – meet the interests of the Syrian people and help them to get rid of their persistent tragedy which has lasted for 40 months already.
Finally, though the Iranian people are considered one of the oldest people in the region, they are still ruled by a repressive autocratic regime ruined by corruption. A simple comparison between Iran and Turkey, as their population is almost the same in terms of size, shows that though Iran is a rich country with oil and gas (oil exports constitute 60% of the Iranian national income), it dissipates its people's wealth through its support of sectarian wars in the region and through its support of sectarian militants and organizations in Lebanon, Iraq, Yemen and Pakistan. These organizations have become, in addition to ISIS and Al-Qaeda, the opposite side of the mill stone that grinds the peoples of the region and destroys the chances of its revival. Meanwhile, the Iranian people are suffering from economic poverty and illiteracy (a simple example is the the dilemma of the people displaced because of the Ilam earthquake which has not been solved yet, while the Iranian regime provides billions of dollars to support Assad's regime, Lebanese Hezbollah and the sectarian groups in Iraq and Pakistan). On the other hand, Turkey, which imports all its oil and other raw materials, was able to make its economy the 17th largest in the world. This means that the wealth God gave to the Iranian people is used to destroy the region instead of using it to raise Iranian living standards, develop their country and strengthen the friendship and cooperation with the peoples of the region.
Translated and edited by The Syrian Observer