Things are becoming more clear regarding Turkey’s controversial statements and the media’s efforts to decipher them. After the readiness to restore normal relations between the two countries (Syria and Turkey), the regime’s pillars of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan returned last weekend to launch threats that they had echoed for months. These threats include launching a military operation to cut a strip inside Syrian territory in order to establish the so-called “safe zone” 30 kilometres deep.
Turkish and Arab sources in Turkey who were following up on the statements of Turkish officials regarding the invasion of Syrian territory or statements about Ankara’s rapprochement with Damascus confirmed that Erdogan has a real interest in finding a political solution to the Syrian crisis that will get him out of the quagmire in which he has implicated his country for the past decade. However, this interest should also be in line with his interests in winning the June 2023 elections, and without disclosing to the public opinion directly and clearly his intention to make a full rotation to achieve his internal and external agenda.
The sources revealed, in statements to Al-Watan, that Erdogan’s plan to restore the relationship with Damascus in the foreseeable future, and his officials launching “test balloons” in this field, is to block the path for the Turkish opposition parties that are riding the wave of normalizing relations with Damascus as soon as they win the elections. He wants to withdraw the “power” of the return of Syrian refugees to their country from the opposition. He has used this “power” as a bargain to win the affection of those who reject the presence of Syrian refugees inside Turkey.
The sources expected that the Erdogan regime will work on balancing and marrying the interests of the Kremlin and the U.S. administration to bring about a rapprochement with the Syrian leadership before the election. Washington announced its refusal to re-normalize with Damascus and incited Ankara not to re-engage with the Syrian capital, provided that Erdogan personally continues the policy of opening up to the Russians and Syrians gradually. This comes to bridge the depth of the gap with Damascus to reach “compromise solutions” that Moscow insists on, that would put the political solution to the Syrian crisis on its right track, according to its vision of a solution, after the suspension or cancellation of the military solution.
The sources expressed their conviction that Ankara’s change in rhetoric towards Damascus remains in the media and the context of words rather than deeds.
Foreign Minister Faisal al-Mekdad stressed during a press conference he attended with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov last week that there are entitlements that must be carried out by Turkey. They should be made on the basis of respect for the sovereignty of countries, in order for relations between the two countries to return to what they were before the start of the terrorist war on Syria. He explained that these entitlements are to end the occupation, stop supporting terrorism, stop the interference in the internal affairs of Syria and solve water problems between the two countries. He considered that this constitutes a prelude to the return of the two countries’ relationships to what they were.
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.