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Mon Mar 2, 2020, 03:48 PM

Erdoğan is reaping what he sowed: Turkey is on the brink of disaster in Syria

Source: The Guardian

Erdoğan is reaping what he sowed: Turkey is on the brink of disaster in Syria

Simon Tisdall
Mon 2 Mar 2020 17.37 GMT
Last modified on Mon 2 Mar 2020 17.44 GMT

Maverick, out-of-control authoritarian leaders – and here we are talking about Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president – tend to think they know best about everything, and are fiercely intolerant of criticism. It is this hubris that has finally led Erdoğan and Turkey to the brink of disaster in Syria after nine years of bombastic threats, proxy conflict and direct military intervention.

Erdoğan is now isolated on all sides, sharply at odds with other major players in the Syrian crisis. Having sent an extra 7,000 troops and armour into Idlib last month to reinforce existing military outposts, Turkey has plunged in open warfare with Bashar al-Assad’s regime. It has attacked airports and radar sites well behind the de facto “frontline”. It has declared all regime “elements” to be legitimate targets.

In mid-2011, when the Arab spring uprisings were just getting going, Ahmet Davutoğlu, then Turkey’s foreign minister, met Assad in Damascus and urged him to discuss the demonstrators’ demands. Assad refused. Davutoğlu later told me the Syrian leader just wouldn’t listen. The chance was lost. As Assad’s crackdown intensified, Erdoğan threw Turkey’s weight behind the rebels, including Islamist groups.

But what is happening now in north-west Syria is no longer a proxy war. It is a direct confrontation between the two heavily armed neighbouring states. And it threatens to draw Turkey deeper into military conflict with Russia, Assad’s principal ally. Erdoğan’s spokespeople and the pro-government media continue to suggest that last Thursday’s debacle, when 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an attack on their convoy in Idlib, was the fault of the Syrian regime.

It’s hard to know the facts, given Erdoğan’s suppression of independent journalism. But the truth seems to be very different. The death toll may have totalled up to 55, according to Metin Gurcan, a military analyst writing for the respected online regional platform al-Monitor. Local reports speak of up to 100 dead. It also seems likely the majority of the deaths were caused not by Syrian jets but by deliberate, follow-up Russian airstrikes.


Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/02/erdogan-turkey-syria-assad

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Reply Erdoğan is reaping what he sowed: Turkey is on the brink of disaster in Syria (Original post)
Eugene Mar 2020 OP
Karadeniz Mar 2020 #1

Response to Eugene (Original post)

Mon Mar 2, 2020, 09:04 PM

1. I lived in Turkey for 2 years...loved it and the Turks. Detest Erdogan. We rooted for the

Military in that attempt a few years ago to get rid of him

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