Putin's gas and Assad's veto: Erdogan's Turkey is at a crossroads
Created: 08/09/2022 05:47
By: Erkan Pehlivan
President of Russia Vladimir Putin (R) and President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan during their meeting at Saadabad Palace on July 19.
© Sergei Savostyanov / AP / Sputnik Kremlin / dpa
The Turkish President relies on support from Russia.
However, the green light for a military operation in northern Syria is currently unlikely.
Ankara – On August 5, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi.
It was the second meeting in three months.
Both sides agreed to deepen economic relations.
Critics see this as a circumvention of Western sanctions against Russia.
Russia is an important partner for Turkey in many respects.
The country is in an economic crisis and urgently needs money.
Inflation and currency depreciation are making people's conditions worse and worse.
Cheap Russian oil and gas could help Erdogan cushion the economic crisis in his own country.
In addition, Erdogan's AKP government has repeatedly announced that it will launch a military operation in the Manbij region in northern Syria (Rojava).
The Turkish head of state has repeatedly emphasized that he wants to clean the area of "terrorists".
By this Erdogan means above all Kurds who are part of the “Syrian Democratic Forces” (SDF).
The SDF had fought the Islamic State terrorist militia in recent years and lost thousands of fighters in the process.
Turkey has lost around 500 soldiers in northern Syria since 2016
In an interview with IPPEN.MEDIA
, the military expert and former sea captain in the Turkish Navy, Hüseyin Demirtas, does
not believe that such a military operation is possible.
"Neither Russia nor the USA nor the ruler Assad would allow that," said Demirtas.
Soldiers and civilians would die unnecessarily.
Demirtas estimates that more than 500 Turkish soldiers have been killed in such military operations in northern Syria since 2016.
According to Demirtas, such threatening gestures are more likely to be a demonstration of power.
"2023 will be elected and Erdogan shows his electorate the strong man.
In this way, he hopes to do better in the upcoming elections,” said Demirtas.
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The Middle East consultant of the "Society for Threatened Peoples" (GfbV), Kamal Sido, has a similar assessment: "Russia and the USA will not allow Erdogan to occupy parts of northern Syria again.
The Syrian Democratic Forces have also announced fierce resistance in the event of another Turkish military operation," Kamal Sido told
“The Kurdish cultural identity is being systematically destroyed”
Should Erdogan nevertheless carry out such a military operation in his neighboring country, there will be misery among the Kurdish civilian population, Sido warns.
“The Kurds have been threatened with ethnic cleansing by Turkish soldiers and their allied jihadist militias since 2018.
So far, more than 300,000 Kurds have been expelled from Afrin,” says Sido.
The record of the Turkish occupation of Afrin is appalling.
“The Kurdish cultural identity is being systematically destroyed.
Germany and Europe silently tolerate this ethnocide - apparently because it is committed by a NATO partner," emphasized the Middle East expert in an interview with